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Ohio is One of First in the Nation to Use New Technology to Expand Broadband Service to Rural Areas

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says results from a pilot project involving satellite technology will determine whether the technology is reliable enough to be used as an alternative to fiber-optic internet.

Getting broadband services to the estimated 1 million Ohioans who lack it has been a challenge, but the state is beginning a new pilot project that is designed to help with providing reliable internet service to rural areas. It involves new satellite technology.

Bob Rich of Union County has worked from home for nine years without reliable internet. He says it’s been a challenge, especially when multiple members of his family need it at the same time.

“In that time, I’ve had to do things like rent office space in Marysville, which is the nearest town, during the summer and winter breaks so I’m not constantly nagging my children to get off YouTube," Rich said.

Rich lives in one of the areas targeted by Ohio’s new $200,000 pilot program that uses Starlink technology and SpaceXto provide internet via satellite technology.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says Ohio is breaking new ground with this pilot project.

"We want to see if this works. This is a new strategy. This pilot program will be one of the first in the nation,” Husted said.

He says this pilot project will begin in Allen Township, part of Union County, in January 2021. He says it will show whether the technology is reliable enough to expand it into more areas of Ohio where traditional fiber-optic internet is prohibitively expensive. He says if it works and it is affordable enough for users, the project could be expanded to homes and businesses statewide in the future.
Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.