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BroadbandOhio Announces State Support for Lake-to-River Regional Broadband Expansion Project

(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio)—Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik today joined state and local leaders in the city of Youngstown to announce state support for a broadband expansion project to improve digital equity through Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana Counties.

The state of Ohio, through the Office of BroadbandOhio, has allocated $500,000 in funding for the project. The funding will go towards conducting an engineering analysis necessary to complete a Lake-to-River Fiber Broadband Corridor along State Route 11.

The engineering analysis is a critical step towards making the Lake-to-River Fiber Broadband Corridor a reality. The analysis will help turn the vision for Route 11 into a technical blueprint that can be followed by an internet service provider to build the project.

The development of a Lake-to-River Fiber Broadband Corridor was one of the key recommendations of an extensive Broadband Feasibility Study released by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments in June 2021. The project will help eliminate the digital divide in the rural and urban areas within the region by improving middle mile infrastructure and last mile broadband capabilities.

“The DeWine-Husted Administration continues to deliver solutions to fill gaps in coverage and improve connectivity for Ohioans,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development which houses BroadbandOhio. “We’re proud to support Eastgate in this crucial next step to improve broadband connectivity and accessibility throughout the region.”

The engineering analysis will include a next-generation GIS fiber map that will visualize the network and its critical components. The map will depict the physical location of the fiber and other telecom infrastructure. By using network technical data, geographic and demographic information, the fiber map will be a blueprint for the construction of the Lake-to-River Fiber Broadband Corridor.

“It is important to highlight the collaboration and the partnerships that were built throughout this process. Eastgate would be remiss not to highlight the contributions of the leadership and staff of all four counties, the Office of BroadbandOhio, the Ohio Department of Transportation, State Senator Rulli, and many more in their efforts to ensure state-of-the-art broadband that will benefit residents, businesses, community anchor institutions, government, overall economic development, and innovation” said Jim Kinnick, Executive Director of the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments. “Eastgate strives to create an environment that will serve current and future technology needs, and one that establishes a platform that supports and facilitates existing, as well as new Internet Service Providers, telecommunications carriers, and data center services within the region.”

The proposed fiber line will run nearly 100 miles and provide connectivity to existing fiber lines on I-90, I-80, and the Ohio Turnpike. This improved connectivity will positively impact over 620,000 Ohioans by improving internet access resulting in improved education, economic development, and telehealth options.

Today’s announcement represents another broadband expansion project that builds upon the DeWine-Husted Administration’s efforts to expand and enhance broadband connectivity for families and businesses throughout Ohio.

Learn more at https://Broadband.Ohio.Gov.