YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is working to get broadband internet across three counties.
Members of Eastgate met with local leaders on Tuesday to hear the results of an independent study focused on Ashtabula, Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
The Broadband Feasibility Study began last fall and wrapped up about two weeks ago. It looked at what each area had available, such as stakeholders, schools and non-profits.
“From our community engagement, we heard really consistent themes across all of the counties, which was really impressive,” said lead project consultant Lindsay Miller, of Ice Miller Whiteboard.
Including who to go to for broadband questions, affordable and reliable services, and more choices of providers. Depending on where you live could also affect the ability to get broadband.
“Areas with lower population densities are experiencing lower broadband availability,” Miller said.
Miller mentioned that broadband is getting more attention and the pandemic brought some issues to the foreground. So, the plan was laid out into short, mid and longer term solutions.
“The long-term recommendations are probably what you would expect to see from a report in that they address infrastructure. Where do we project that build-out going to be needed? What kind of build-out?” Miller said.
The long-term goal is to have 100 miles of a high-speed fiber line. It would go right down the same path as Route 11, as sort of a backbone, pushing from Lake Erie to possibly the Ohio River.
“To then build off of that backbone to further plug in the broadband gaps,” Miller said.
Webbing off that Route 11 fiber line into different areas, which could be fiber or another form to get broadband to these areas.
“And utilizing grants and/or American Rescue Plan funds for that build-out,” Miller said.
It’s estimated that it would cost $12 million to do just the three counties or $15 million for all three plus Columbiana County.
To view the complete study, go to www.eastgatecog.org/Broadband.