COLUMBUS—State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) last week announced the Senate's unanimous passage of Senate Bill 8, 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.
"For years, it has become increasingly clear that reliable, high-speed broadband internet access is equally important in rural Ohio as it is in our cities and suburbs," said Peterson. "This legislation is an important step to improving connectivity for all Ohioans, especially as many have been forced to transition to working, learning and receiving healthcare remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Nearly one 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 the construction of broadband projects in unserved areas of the state.
Senate Bill 8 will now be sent to the Ohio House for consideration.