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DeWine signs new law bringing high-speed internet to rural areas

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:14 AM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine was in Butler County Monday to sign off on a new law that will provide millions in state grants to expand and bring high-speed broadband internet around Ohio, including rural areas.

He signed House Bill 2 at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford State Road in Middletown.

The funds will help provide high-speed internet services to underserved communities.

It’s a mission Middletown City Schools has benefited from thanks to a grant program.

“Our staff does a fantastic job educating our students during the school day in-between the walls of the school building. Once the buses take our students home, too many students in the state of Ohio and the United States go home and aren’t able to continue the learning and advance their education,” Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. said.

Monday afternoon, DeWine also signed Senate Bill 108 and Senate Bill 109 during a videoconference ceremony.

Right now, about a million people - some 300,000 households - lack high-speed options, DeWine’s administration and state lawmakers have said in news releases over the past year.

The issue emerged as Ohioans worked from home and attended school online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“For years, it has become increasingly clear that reliable, high-speed broadband internet access is equally important in rural Ohio as it is in our cities and suburbs,” State Sen. Bob Peterson, (R-Washington Court House) said in a news release.

“This legislation is an important step to improving connectivity for all Ohioans, especially as many have been forced to transition to working, learning and receiving healthcare remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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