County seeking to expand broadband


XENIA — Greene County will soon be bringing broadband to residents not currently served or who are currently underserved.

According to Commissioner Dick Gould, the area in question includes southern Sugarcreek to the eastern edge of Clifton and over to Bath Township. There are 17,500 homes and businesses in that area that would be a part of the program which would be a combination of fiber and wireless services.

The county will first seek a qualified and willing public or private partner to assess the current availability of broadband internet services; design a plan for the construction of an expanded network to address the deficient areas within the county; and partner with the county to construct the required middle mile and last mile infrastructure.

“This is really very important to the future of our schools and our county,” Greene County Commissioner Tom Koogler said. “We need to find a way to get this done somehow.”

Commissioner Rick Perales agreed with Koogler’s assessment.

“This is going to make a significant impact to get the people some speed,” Perales said.

The discussion started around four years ago when Cedarville contacted the county about broadband service to the eastern part of the county, according to Development Director Eric Henry.

“A working group was formed and then later dissolved,” he said.

Henry said the proposal is to find a private partner to come up with a plan to bring broadband and the county would offer gap financing to assist the private entity.

“The county can use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars and a company can apply to the state for funding from the $250 million that is available,” Henry said.

As part of a deal, Gould said that a company would be asked to provide a fee commitment of about 10 years.

“The county has some leverage because it has the checkbook,” he said.

County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said the county will ask for proposals and then a committee will vet the candidates. Technically-qualified individuals will be asked to be on the committee.

Completed proposals are due to the department of development Sept. 27.

By Darryl McGee

[email protected]

Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534

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