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Government/Politics

Ohio Senate Budget Bans Current And Future Broadband Programs By Municipalities

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In their version of the state budget, Ohio Senate Republicans erased money that had been earmarked for broadbandprograms. But they also added a provision that would ban local communities from doing their ownbroadbandprograms.
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said there’s likely to be what he calls “significant dollars available in the budget” for broadband. But he says he wants the priority to be rural and underserved urban areas, not for municipalities to become "enterpreneurs".

“It may make sense for a local city to go out and say, ‘hey, let’s sell this to a large corporation over here, and they’re going to pay us a lot of money.’ Well, the private sector can do that. They need to go do it to schools, or even businesses that there’s notbroadbandservice," Huffman said.

There was $250 million in Gov. Mike DeWine's initial budget for broadband. The House budget took that down to $190 million. There is no money in the Senate version of the budget for expanding high speed internet access to the estimated 300,000 Ohio households that don't have it.

The provision would ban all current and future municipalbroadbandprograms if there’s a private company offeringbroadbandin the area.

The House and DeWine would have to agree to it.

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