Commissioners talk rural broadband

GREENVILLE—The Darke County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss rural internet. Commissioners Mike Stegall and Larry Holmes were both present. Commissioner Matt Aultman was absent.

The board approved a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Countywide Broadband Network Engineering & Deployment. According to the State of Ohio, 83% of the populated area and 40% of households in Darke County do not have access to fixed broadband service.

The commissioners issued this RFP for strategic broadband network engineering and deployment to improve broadband access for education, job creation, healthcare and more in Darke County. It is the commissioner’s intent through this RFP to expand the broadband infrastructure , as hereafter defined, to benefit Darke County residents, businesses, community institutions, government and overall economic development and catalyze local innovation.

Proposals are due Friday, Aug. 26, and the RFP award date is Friday, Sept. 23.

Commissioner Holmes said the board has been working on this for a while.

“After consultation with legal counsel in Columbus, and dialogue with Broadband Ohio and other resources, we decided to open up the scope of what we were looking at beyond what we were thinking a month ago,” he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what comes back.”

Commissioner Stegall added that his colleagues have worked hard on this issue.

“I personally want to thank Larry and Matt,” he said. “They’ve led the charge on this. I’m basically challenged in this kind of an area. I’m not really familiar with it, and Larry and Matt have done an excellent job. They’ve really worked hard on this. I’ve learned a lot during this process, but I want to thank them for doing a great job. This is the start of what we hope is going to be something really good.”

The board holds regular session every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at 520 South Broadway, Greenville, Ohio 45331. For more information contact the commissioner’s office at 937-547-7370.

Abigail Miller / Editor

Abigail Miller is a Greenville native, Kent State graduate, writer, crocheter, shopaholic and friend. Contact Darke County Now Reporter Abigail Miller at amiller@darkecountynow.com.

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