BroadbandOhio Seeks Input for Internet Expansion Projects

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As the state attempts to close the digital divide, BroadbandOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Development, is seeking feedback from communities and residents.

Participants in the six-week outreach effort can weigh in on the quality of internet service in their communities and help plan future efforts to expand and improve broadband throughout the state.

Besides a survey seeking feedback from Ohio residents, government entities, internet service providers, private businesses and nonprofit or community organizations, there will be a larger outreach effort.

Youngstown’s Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, 100 E. Federal St., has been chosen as the final location for listening sessions with area stakeholders scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 20. Businesses and internet service providers will be addressed from 10:30 a.m., followed by local government at 1 p.m., nonprofits and community organizations at 2:30 p.m. and Ohio residents at 4 p.m.

In addition, there is a webinar scheduled today from 2 to 3 p.m. for nonprofits and community organizations, and another planned for Ohio residents from 4 to 5 p.m. April 12.

BroadbandOhio was awarded $5 million through the U.S. Department of Commerce to conduct the outreach effort, which is the first step toward the state receiving the full allocation of federal money through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access and Development Program, as well as the Digital Equity Act. The BEAD program will provide $42.5 billion to all 50 states and U.S. territories to expand broadband connectivity throughout the next five years, while the Digital Equity Act is providing $2.75 billion toward promoting digital opportunities for everyone.

BroadbandOhio is especially interested in hearing from underserved and underrepresented populations, including those with low income, disabilities or language barriers, incarcerated individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, older Ohioans and those living in rural areas.

Listening sessions have been held or are planned for Mount Gilead, Rio Grande, Cambridge, Xenia, Toledo, Findlay, Cleveland and Youngstown.
More information can be found here.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.