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DeWine signs bill establishing broadband grant program, allocates $20 million

A rare display of bipartisanship and an increased focus on addressing the digital divide led Gov. Mike DeWine to sign House Bill 2 — a piece of legislation that creates the state's first-ever residential broadband expansion program. After a previous version of the bill faded during the last General Assembly, DeWine said this law is essential for Ohio to move forward in 2021. "This is something where we have broad consensus in the state of Ohio — Democrats, Republicans, rural, urban and suburban areas," he said during a signing ceremony Monday at the Amanda Elementary School in Middletown.

Ookla Finds Starlink Speeds Would Have Trouble Meeting FCC RDOF Requirements

U.S. subscribers using Space X’s Starlink non-geostationary satellite broadband service experienced median download speeds between 40 and 93 Mbps in the first quarter of 2021, according to tests conducted using Ookla’s speed test technology. Median latency for the service varied from 31 ms to 88 ms. The findings suggest that unless something changes, Starlink could have trouble meeting its service performance commitments in the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. The FCC tentatively awarded SpaceX nearly a billion dollars to cover some of the costs of providing above-baseline, low-latency service to 642,000 unserved locations in 35 states.

Broadband expansion bill sponsored by Hocking County state rep

LOGAN — Hocking County’s state representative is working to make a campaign dream a reality: Expanding broadband internet access. Ohio House Bill 2 builds incentive for private internet providers to provide internet in residential, unserved areas. The bill creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program; it also creates a five-person board called the Broadband Expansion Program Authority that will oversee grant distribution.

Ohioans are already bridging the digital divide. Will state lawmakers help?

LOWELL – Looming over unplowed back roads still-glistening with snow, a 200-foot beacon of high-speed internet stands tall in Washington County. Nearly 120 miles southeast of Columbus, Brad Spray glances up at his handiwork. The cellphone tower, which has beamed reception to Verizon Wireless and AT&T users across the county, thanks to Spray and the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative, will expand wireless internet service to hundreds of residents in Lowell, a village 10 miles north of Marietta.

With RDOF Support, Charter Commits $5 Billion for Rural Broadband Expansion

Charter offered some details today about its $1.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) win. Perhaps the most interesting detail is that Charter plans to spend $5 billion in total on the RDOF rural broadband buildout, which means the company will be investing $3.8 billion of its own money on RDOF projects. It’s interesting news because it sheds light on what it took for any bidder to win in the RDOF auction, which awarded funding to bring broadband to unserved rural areas to the lowest bidder, with a weighting system designed to favor bids to deliver higher-speed, lower-latency service.

‘Every day, we’re falling behind in Appalachian Ohio’: Lack of broadband hurts rural areas

AMESVILLE — Heather Mitchell is overwhelmed. The single mom of three boys struggles just to send a text message. She and her sons — Micah, 6, River, 4, and Wren, 2 — have been living without consistent internet access in Athens County for nearly eight years. The family moved to Amesville, a village about 80 miles southeast of Columbus and 13 miles northeast of Athens, about a year and a half ago.
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