Roadway rights in Ohio’s plan for more high-speed internet

Broadband Access-Ohio

FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2019 file photo, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaks during a news conference unveiling the STRONG Ohio Bill at the Ohio Department of Public Safety in Columbus, Ohio. High-speed internet would spread to about 1 million unserved or underserved Ohioans along rural routes and highways previously off-limits to private development under a strategic plan released Thursday, Dec. 19. Husted, who oversees InnovateOhio, said the plan is a necessary step in helping Ohio compete for federal resources that public-private partnerships can use to make needed improvements. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

COLUMBUS (AP) – A strategic plan would extend high-speed internet to about 1 million unserved or underserved Ohioans by using rural routes and highways previously off-limits to private development.

If the plan released Thursday is approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the aggressive blueprint for expanding and improving broadband access across the state also would boost local governments’ chances of landing federal grants.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine says Ohio’s lack of connectivity is putting the state at a disadvantage. The plan comes as digital giants, including Microsoft and Facebook, are working to provide connectivity in rural, often poor areas of the U.S.

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