Plans for broadband speeding up

Buckeye Farm News 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $7.2 billion to broadband development.

Of that, $2.5 billion is allocated to the USDA Rural Utilities Service to disburse grants, loans and loan guarantees to rural areas. The remaining $4.7 billion goes toward grants to spur broadband deployment in “unserved, underserved and low-income communities.”

The Federal Communications Commission has been charged with producing a comprehensive broadband plan over the next year and a broadband map by 2011.

Ohio already has its own broadband map, put together under the direction of Connect Ohio, a partnership between the state of Ohio and Connected Nation, a national non-profit organization that specializes in increasing technology access and literacy. In March, Connect Ohio released a new map fine-tuning where broadband is available, right down to the street level.

“We are getting closer to 100 percent involvement in all counties in (Connect Ohio’s) local e-community leadership teams,” said OFBF Director of Legislative Relations Chris Henney, who serves on the Ohio Broadband Council. “The teams report discrepancies in the map and assess local needs for broadband deployment. Now we can fine-tune where we need services to be spread.”

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.