Stimulus funds aid Ohio broadband development

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced recently that OneCommunity, an Ohio nonprofit organization, received $11.7 million from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand the availability and performance of broadband internet access in the state. More than 14,000 people in urban and rural areas of Ohio cannot access high-speed internet. The funds will go directly toward narrowing the state’s digital divide. OneCommunity has received nearly $19 million recently for projects that will also help Florida, Michigan, Mississippi and Kentucky. “In this increasingly technologically-driven economy, we are committed to expanding broadband access to all Ohioans and eliminating the digital divide,” Strickland said. “Broadband creates educational opportunities for disadvantaged Ohioans in urban, suburban and rural areas.” OneCommunity’s stated goal is to accelerate the availability of broadband internet to boost educational and economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations. Similar efforts were announced recently in Washington state and Utah as part of the ARRA. Improving national availability of broadband access was one of President Barack Obama’s stated educational and technological initiatives in his State of the Union Address in January. The funds are not being awarded to every state that applies, however. The Baltimore Sun reported recently that Maryland failed in an attempt to receive federal funding for its broadband initiatives.

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