COLUMBUS—Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this 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.
"Broadband internet access is an essential infrastructure," said Huffman. “Improved access, especially in the rural areas of Ohio, will ensure our schools and businesses remain responsive to the demands of an increasingly technical world."
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.