Broadband Must Be Accesible, Affordable to All, Hripko Says

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley, like much of the world, is still trying to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an attempt to spur that recovery, the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is preparing to take advantage of upcoming federal funding to improve broadband access across the region.

“It becomes a question of accessibility and affordability,” says Mike Hripko, economic recovery coordinator at Eastgate. “What we’ve learned is that there are some areas in our region that have no broadband, many areas that have slow broadband and other areas that have costly broadband.”

Hripko says the pandemic made it clear just how important technology infrastructure is to maintaining quality education, community services and growing businesses.

“We’re going to have a permanent work-from-home group now,” he says. “So it’s here to stay and we want to be on the forefront.”

During a recent episode of the Brain Gain Youngstown Leadership Podcast, Hripko discussed Eastgate’s broadband initiative with Jeff Leo Herrmann, CEO of the Youngstown Publishing Co.

 Here are some key takeaways:

  •  Be prepared for opportunities.
  •  “When you have that plan in place, you can be very opportunistic.”
  •  If you’re not making progress, change tactics.
  •  ‘Choose another tactic but keep the goal in mind.”

The Brain Gain Youngstown Leadership Podcast is published every Wednesday at and on Spotify.