COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) announced that the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 8 this week, which would increase access to broadband services in underserved areas of Ohio. This would be done through the creation of the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program.
“This last year has shown us that this bill is necessary more now than ever,” McColley said. “Reliable broadband internet is absolutely essential for people to engage with the rest of the world.”
Nearly 1 million Ohioans lack access to high speed internet, leaving many underserved areas at a significant disadvantage in the modern era. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how crucial access to high speed internet is, as these areas struggled to access services like education and telemedicine as they transitioned online.
Senate Bill 8 also creates the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority to award program grants to Internet service providers for the construction of broadband projects in unserved areas of the state.
“The necessity for reliable broadband in rural Ohio has been one of the top priority issues for Ohio Farm Bureau for years and the challenges that come with inadequate internet connections have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Senate passage of SB 8 is a great first step in making a meaningful investment to put all Ohioans on a level playing field in a world that relies on broadband access to succeed.”
Senate Bill 8 will now be sent to the Ohio House for consideration.
— Ohio Senate
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
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