$6.1M to Be Invested in Bringing Broadband to Local Rural Areas

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – More than $6.1 million in broadband internet investments will be coming to underserved areas in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, affecting some 13,575 homes and businesses. 

As a result of the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, telecommunication companies will install gigabit-speed broadband over the next decade. In total, the effort will bring broadband to 401,000 thousand Ohioans.

Businesses that won auction bids must provide service to 40% of a block’s locations within three years and an additional 20% in each of the fourth and fifth years. The deployment schedule is determined by service carriers, not the FCC.

“We structured this innovative and groundbreaking auction to prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency services to deliver the best results for rural Americans, and the results show that this strategy worked,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. “This auction was the commission’s single largest step ever taken toward delivering digital opportunity to every American and is another key success in our ongoing commitment to universal service.”

Columbiana County had the largest dollar amount invested with $2,993,497 affecting 6,900 homes and businesses. Charter Communications will invest $2,094,100 to provide service to 4,121 sites, while Mercury Wireless will invest $615,209 to bring service to 2,572 sites. Also winning bids in the county were LTD Broadband LLC, which will invest $103,428 to bring service to 119 sites and Connect Everyone LLC, investing $180,761 for 88 sites.

Trumbull County will see $1,937,550 invested, affecting 1,624 locations. Charter was again the largest provider and is slated to invest $960,546 affecting 1,133 sites. Second was LTD Broadband with $656,172 for 285 sites, followed by Connect Everyone with $166,382 for 81 sites, Windstream Services LLC with $151,086 for 110 sites and Armstrong-Northern Division with $3,364 for 15 sites.

And in Mahoning County, $1,235,261 will be invested to bring service to 1,075 sites. LTD Broadband is making the largest investment, $435,462 to deliver service to 372 locations. Also providing service are Connect Everyone ($393,766 for 190 sites), Charter ($307,661 for 335 sites), Mercury Wireless ($42,319 for 108 sites) and Windstream ($37,356 for 20 sites).

“Whether it’s completing schoolwork, accessing job applications, banking online, or any number of other resources we access through the internet, broadband is an essential utility for every 21st century American. At a time when we have been forced to carry out more and more of our normal daily life remotely, too many Ohioans have been disadvantaged because they couldn’t access the internet,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan in a statement announcing the investments. “The success of this project is a huge step in the right direction to ensure every Ohioan has the opportunity to thrive – during this pandemic and beyond.”

Added U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson in a separate statement announcing investments in his district: “The need for our children to use the internet for distance learning, the demand for businesses to allow their employees to remotely work from home, and the need for internet access to support advances in telehealth have demonstrated how critically important it is that we in rural Ohio get access to high-speed broadband internet.”

A full list of Ohio’s auction results can be read HERE.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.