House OKs Bill To Direct $210M For Ohio Broadband Expansion

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Legislation to help expand high-speed internet access in underserved and rural areas of Ohio is getting bipartisan support and fast-tracked consideration at the Statehouse as the coronavirus pandemic increases pressure to address that digital divide.

A measure to direct $210 million toward increasing broadband access passed the House on Thursday with wide support.

It includes $20 million annually for three fiscal years, plus $150 million from the governor’s state budget proposal.

The bill would create a grant program to overcome the cost hurdles that dissuade broadband providers from connecting hard-to-reach homes.

An estimated 300,000 households and 1 million residents across Ohio lack high-speed internet.