Governor launches major broadband expansion project for underserved East Cleveland communities

East Cleveland is among the poorest and least digitally-connected cities in the United States
Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 10:16 AM EDT
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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was in East Cleveland on Wednesday morning to announce the expansion of a broadband initiative that will impact hundreds of residents in underserved communities.

East Cleveland is among the poorest and least digitally-connected cities in the United States, according to Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.

The goal of the high-speed internet expansion project, as part of a public-private partnership with BroadbandOhio, would change that.

“East Cleveland, like many other urban and rural communities, has lacked both the infrastructure and access to low-cost broadband for many residents,” Gov. DeWine said.

The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King, and other local officials for remarks at Mayfair Elementary School, the site of the first activated antennae.

According to Gov. DeWine, the initiative started after a recent trip to East Cleveland where he noticed the lack of high-speed internet.

DeWine approached Lt. Gov. Husted about the absence of reliable internet , who then reached out to providers that said they could assist with service.

After not seeing any progress, Husted said the governor’s office took it upon themselves to provide broadband access; an initiative that took only months dating back to December.

“As soon as I learned that most families in East Cleveland didn’t have access to high-speed internet, I told the InnovateOhio team we’ve got to fix this,” said Lt. Gov. Husted.

The pilot program includes $650,000 in investments from BroadbandOhio, Cuyahoga County, InnovateOhio, and other organizations.

Initially, 1,000 families can register for a modem and broadband connections with more access planned in the near future.

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