StimulatingBroadband.com 08/18/2010 San Francisco - OneCommunity, the nonprofit corporation addressing the digital divide in Northeast Ohio, today was awarded a $44.8 million stimulus grant from the federal broadband stimulus program.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will fund 64% of a nearly $70 million optical fiber project as part of its middle mile Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) program. According to a press release from OneCommunity, the project "will add nearly 1,000 miles of fiber-optic cable to OneCommunity’s high-speed broadband network, enlarging its total footprint to 27 counties, and creating nearly 500 jobs."
The corporation estimates that a full "800 institutions will become subscribers as segments of the network become active over a 30-month period beginning in 2011. These anchors – many of which do not have access or cannot afford these services today – will be able to deliver enhanced education, health care and citizen services to millions of residents."
Cooperating groups and partners in the effort driven by OneCommunity include Lorain County Community College, Medina County Port Authority, and the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet). OARNet is state research and educational network (REN) of the state. The partners each will contribute resources for the fiber network build. The organization now estimates a project schedule "with construction beginning the first quarter of 2011, and completion expected in segments through summer 2013."
The application announced for funding today is 1 of 3 associated "integrated proposals totaling $141 million in requested federal funds submitted under the umbrella of the Ohio Middle Mile Consortium (OMMC)."
In addition to OneCommunity, OMMC includes investor owned Horizon Telcom, and Com Net, OARnet, and operating state agencies.