COLUMBUS — The Ohio House on Thursday passed House Bill 13, which would bring broadband to unserved residential households.
HB 13, or the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Program, was sponsored by state Reps. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, and Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township. The bill would combine efforts by government and private enterprise with the goal of expanding broadband connectivity to unserved households across the state.
“I have seen firsthand how constituents struggle without access to broadband,” O’Brien said in a news release. “Now, more than ever, our lives are dependent upon broadband access. Many Ohioans are still working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still others are seeking vital medical attention via telehealth, or filing for unemployment benefits and taking online courses. Access is vital in all these areas and many more."
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, sheltering at home has become a new normal for many Ohio families,” state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, said in a news release. “Access to broadband is an essential element needed to connect our communities and educate our children for the future.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.