DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik and local officials announced the state support of a project that will improve internet access for approximately 90 percent of Darke County residents on Monday.

According to a release, BroadbandOhio, a division of the Department of Development, has awarded $500,000 in grant funding to help the Darke County Board of Commissioners in its partnership with Agile Network Builders, LLC.

The partnership will reportedly lead to the expansion of a hybrid fiber wireless network to fixed tower sites throughout the county. This expansion will bring greater coverage to 20,000 households, or around 50,000 residents.

“Broadband expansion is now more critical than ever,” said Lt. Governor Husted.

“The connectivity enabled by this funding will not only offer the residents of Darke County increased opportunities to engage with the modern world, but it will also empower local businesses to broaden their reach and navigate the ever-evolving marketplace more successfully.”

This funding will go toward acquiring site space for a tower in the northwest portion of the county, installing equipment, providing fixed wireless and maintaining the infrastructure related to the network, said the release.

“We are pleased that functional broadband access will be available to more than 90 percent of our county residents,” said Darke County Commissioner Larry Holmes.

“The benefits to our residents and businesses will be wide-ranging, from improving the quality of everyday life to the ability for a business to compete in today’s worldwide marketplace.”

The project is expected to take 18 to 24 months with a scheduled completion date of June 30, 2025. Total cost is expected to be nearly $2.8 million.