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Government/Politics

Ohio communities form coalition to advocate for broadband access

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Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Steve Hambley, Medina County commissioner and member of Broadband Access Ohio, says their group will advocate for programs that expand high-speed internet to underserved areas.

Several Ohio municipalities are forming a coalition to promote and be a resource for broadband expansion programs.

The start of Broadband Access Ohio comes at a time when local governments around the state are trying to determine how to spend federal stimulus dollars.

Steve Hambley, a Republican Medina County Commissioner and former state representative, says investing in public-private partnerships can increase access to broadband.

He adds that the coalition can be a resource to other communities.

"We hope to be an example for others and are happy to connect with anyone who may be interested in learning more about our model and helping us all promote so that we end this digital divide. We help our economy. We help our people," says Hambley.

Members of Broadband Access Ohio say they're ready to advocate for policies that help spread their message.

Last year, Republican lawmakers tried to ban municipalities from using state and federal dollars for broadband expansion programs with private internet providers, but that was eventually dropped.

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