**Related Video Above: Gov. DeWine makes broadband announcement in East Cleveland earlier this year.**
COLUMBUS (WOWK) — The Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program has started accepting online applications from internet service providers to provide households with essential broadband services, especially high-speed internet, in unserved and underserved areas around the state.
The broadband projects will provide service access of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to residents in areas that do not have a provider that can supply service at this speed.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the program will provide $250 million in grants funded by Ohio’s 2022-2023 operating budget.
“This program is a key investment in Ohio’s future as we work toward eliminating the digital divide in our state,” said Gov. DeWine. “Connecting our rural and underserved areas with reliable internet service will help bring these communities up to speed with the rest of the state and will be a driving force for economic growth.”
According to the governor, 300,000 households in Ohio, representing around one million Ohioans, are estimated to lack access to broadband internet.
“This grant program is designed to help our local private and public sector partners expand high-speed, affordable internet in areas of Ohio that are presently underserved,” said Husted. “To be a part of the modern economy, education and healthcare systems, you need to have access to reliable internet, and this effort aims to close the digital divide.”
Internet service providers can apply online from Sept. 6, 2021, until Nov. 8, 2021, at 5 p.m.
Applications will be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Development and BroadbandOhio,
Eligible applications will be sent to the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority for approval and funding.