The Connected Nation Blog: Community Collaboration Helps Secure Broadband Grant for Meigs County, OH

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Community Collaboration Helps Secure Broadband Grant for Meigs County, OH

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service Broadband Initiatives Program awarded five Ohio broadband projects. The $14.4 million in broadband infrastructure funding will infuse jobs and enhance broadband capacity in several rural counties.

Among the recipients is New Era Broadband, which worked with Connected Nation and its state-based organization, Connect Ohio, to apply for the funding to bring service to nearly 3,500 unserved residents in rural Meigs County.

According to Connect Ohio’s research, approximately one in five Meigs County households cannot access high-speed Internet service. With this new grant, that’s all about to change. The funds will be used over the next 24 months for a last-mile infrastructure project which will provide fixed-point to multi-point wireless broadband service to increase the county’s broadband capacity and help create jobs.

"(The) decision is a major win for residents of Meigs County," New Era Broadband Company President Brien Burke said. "We're pleased to be able to bring affordable high-speed Internet service to nearly 3,500 residents and businesses there. The award will also provide future jobs and economic opportunities for Meigs County, which will have access to less expensive, higher-speed Internet service."

County commissioners, community leaders, and local partners were instrumental in collaborating with the Meigs County-based fixed wireless provider on the proposal. See:
Pomeroy Daily Sentinel - Firm doubles service as part of ‘county broadband plan’

"We helped New Era identify the unserved areas of Meigs County, conducted propagation and path profile studies, and assisted them in obtaining a lease on the McKenzie Ridge MARCS tower," said Chip Spann, Connected Nation’s director of engineering and technical services. "The initial engineering design was provided as part of New Era's grant application and we’ve continued to offer consulting support along the way. It’s been a win-win for New Era and the citizens of Meigs County."

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