Ohio Is One Of First In The Nation To Use New Technology To Expand Broadband Service To Rural Areas

Dec 17, 2020

Getting broadband services to the estimated one million Ohioans who lack it has been a challenge but the state is beginning a new pilot project that is designed to help with providing reliable internet service to rural areas. It involves new satellite technology.

Bob Rich of Union County has worked from home for nine years without reliable internet. He says it’s been a challenge, especially when multiple members of his family need it at the same time.

“In that time, I’ve had to do things like rent office space in Marysville, which is the nearest town, during the summer and winter breaks so I’m not constantly nagging my children to get off Youtube," Rich says.

Rich lives in one of the areas targeted by Ohio’s new $200,000 pilot program that uses Starlink technology and SpaceX to provide internet via satellite technology.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says Ohio is breaking new ground with this pilot project.

"We want to see if this works. This is a new strategy. This pilot program will be one of the first in the nation,” Husted says.

Husted says this pilot project will begin in Allen Township, part of Union County, in January 2021. He says it will show whether the technology is reliable enough to expand it into more areas of Ohio where traditional fiber-optic internet is prohibitively expensive. He says, if it works, and it is affordable enough for users, the project could be expanded to homes and businesses statewide in the future.