BroadbandOhio will host a series of listening sessions March 16 to April 20 to gather public feedback on revisions to its statewide broadband strategy. The effort will support the development of a comprehensive plan to close the digital divide in Ohio.
The Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), a BroadbandOhio partner, encourages members of its communities (higher education, PreK-12, state and local government and community-based health care providers) to participate in the discussions.
BroadbandOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Development, was awarded $5 million through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program to conduct stakeholder outreach as a first step towards receiving full allocation of federal funds through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The BEAD program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
Stakeholder input will be vital in helping BroadbandOhio create a five-year action plan that will be used to obtain all available funding through the BEAD program. Funds released through the program will be disbursed to communities using the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant process.
BroadbandOhio’s engagement effort will include a series of in-person listening sessions in communities throughout the state, as well as live webinars and an online survey – all over the course of six weeks and all aimed at reaching as many people as possible.
All Ohio residents, businesses, internet service providers, government entities and nonprofit/community-based organizations are encouraged to participate.
To view the schedule of listening sessions, including details for the sessions to be held in each region, visit Broadband Ohio’s Ohio Broadband Strategy page.
Since 1987, OARnet has delivered technology-based solutions that reduce costs, increase productivity and improve customer service. As a division of the Ohio Department of Higher Education's Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), OARnet serves Ohio's education, health care, public broadcasting and government communities. Other members of the consortium include the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK).