On Tuesday, Ohio’s InnovateOhio office, led by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation, released a statewide broadband report outlining potential challenges and a list of connectivity goals while it develops a strategy. The goal is to bring high-speed internet to 300,000 unserved homes, which totals 1 million Ohioans. The report is based on the input of 24 national and local wireless carriers, per StateScoop.
According to Husted, the goals include bringing broadband to rural communities, building connected autonomous vehicle-friendly roadways and funding a stronger network across the state. To accomplish this, the state will partner with private carriers, he added.
The governor’s office found that there is “no silver bullet” or one-size-fits-all solution to expanding broadband throughout the state. “I’m not sure any state has found the magical solution for extending broadband and high-speed internet to rural areas that don’t have it,” Husted told StateScoop. “The reason is simply financial.”
Per the report, multiple carriers, including AT&T and Cincinnati Bell, have invested at least $1 billion in fiber networks over the past ten years. Additionally, 15 carriers expressed interest in access to public space along highways to lay fiber.
Husted said that Ohio has missed out on federal funding to expand broadband access from the FCC’s Connect America Fund because it did not have a broadband strategy in place. Now, he wants to prove that funding would be put to good use in Ohio and plans to have a strategy in place in early 2020.
October 1, 2019