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County supports internet project | News, Sports, Jobs

County supports internet project | News, Sports, Jobs
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WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners made financial commitments Wednesday to two projects that could improve broadband internet access for more than 6,000 people in northern Trumbull County.

Commissioners issued a letter committing $47,500 for an application Ohio Transparent Telecom is making to Ohio’s Residential Broadband Infrastructure Grant. The company is asking the state for funding to complete the project, with a total cost of $950,000, said Nicholas Coggins with the Trumbull County Planning Commission.

The company would build two 150-foot towers and one 200-foot tower, bringing service accessibility to 6,000 people in North Bloomfield, Greene and Gustavus.

Also, commissioners voted to commit $25,000 for a Spectrum Mid-America / Charter Communications Inc. project. That project would connect 127 residential addresses in Mesopotamia and Farmington with a gigabite of broadband access with fiber optic cable.

The county urged the Ohio Broadband Expansion Authority to award funding to the projects.

The state’s program is designed to make it more financially tempting for broadband providers to expand into areas previously identified as having little or zero access to broadband providers, Coggins said.

Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said the fiber optic cable project is great, and the project with the towers is even better because it will impact a lot of people.

“We can get a lot more coverage,” he said.

Coggins said that part of the county is the most underserved at the moment.

Including financial support from the commissioners will make the projects score higher, Coggins said.

The applications stemmed from resolutions commissioners approved last month, Coggins said.

Last month, commissioners approved a resolution requesting the Ohio Department of Development to solicit applications from broadband providers to provide services under the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

The program was created in May after the Ohio General Assembly passed the law and Gov. Mike DeWine signed it.

Commissioners cited the results of a broadband feasibility study completed by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to indicate areas that are unserved or underserved.

Of the townships in the county, the entirety of Bloomfield, Gustavus and Greene are listed as unserved. Underserved or unserved residents live in all quadrants of Farmington, Fowler, Braceville, Mesopotamia, Johnston and Hartford.

And some quadrants are listed as underserved or unserved in Bazetta, Bristol, Brookfield, Mecca, Newton, Southington, Champion, Howland, Hubbard, Kinsman, Liberty, Vienna, Warren and Weathersfield.

The state set aside $20 million for the program.

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