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BroadbandOhio holds ‘listening sessions’


XENIA — BroadbandOhio and other internet executives from across Ohio recently gathered in Greene County to join in four listening sessions sponsored by BroadbandOhio.

Their vision is to bring reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to every Ohioan — in their home and in their community — and to promote the creation of world-class broadband networks throughout the state via the use of best-in-class technologies.

The sessions, which were held at the Greene County Public Library, were led by Peter Voderberg, chief, BroadbandOhio, Ohio Department of Development (ODOD).

Information providers at the sessions included Brian Bohnert, ODOD; Darrell Mitchell, Ohio Connectivity Champions; John Putnam, UniCity; Kristina Scott, United Way of Greater Cincinnati; and Rebecca Cantrell, Greene County Branch of United Way of the Greater Dayton Area.

A brief overview of the Broadband Equity Access & Deployment (BEAD) Program was presented as well as the Digital Equity (DE) Program. The BEAD program is to receive $42.45 billion from the state of Ohio and the DE program is to receive $2.75 billion — in efforts to ensure that everyone has access to broadband.

There are many rural areas in Greene County that do not have broadband/internet access. BEAD’s first priority is to connect the unserved, and second, upgrade the underserved. Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, applicants can find out if they qualify for low cost or no cost broadband. With the help of “digital navigators” solutions can be found for every community.

Additional priorities for remaining BEAD funds include connect Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs), connect Multi-Dwelling Units (MDs), support broadband adoption, and training, devices, and workforce development.

State of Ohio funds have been approved to implement technology and to ensure communities have the skills to use the technology according to Voderberg. The advantages of high speed internet access were discussed whether its provided through cable, satellite, fiber optics, wireless, etc., and federal funds have been ear-marked to make sure rural and low income communities are given the opportunity/funding options to receive broadband technology.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.