Ohio to become ultra fast broadband hub

Ohio is on its way to becoming a hub for ultra fast broadband. Earlier this year, the state announced plans to build a 100gbps network for state anchor institutions and a medical technology corridor leveraging the state’s university networks. That network is set to expand as two cities announced they will hook into the second phase of the network buildout later this year. The statehouse also announced additional funding to help the network keep its momentum.

Last year, Chillicothe, Ohio was given an early innovation grant from the federal government for its broadband expansion plan. Since then, Governor Kasich has made statewide broadband expansion a central priority of his administration, by launching the 100gbps expansion plan.

At an event in February, the Governor highlighted his plan to create a state-of-the-art medical education and health care corridor over the network. Touting the network’s potential benefits including job creation, economic development and improved educational opportunities for Ohioans. Yesterday, the cities of Portsmouth and Wooster announced that they now will join Akron, Athens and Youngstown as hubs for Phase II development of the broadband network. The two cities are agricultural hubs and will add that economic sector to the network mix.

“This is the new gold standard for technology and information sharing, and we want to ensure that the entire state benefits from its potential,” Governor Kasich said.

The Ohio Controlling Board approved today the $3.1 million state investment in this latest broadband enhancement. Additionally, the state will offer assistance to 33 of Ohio’s four-year public and private and two-year community and technical institutions to contract with vendors to upgrade their last-mile connections to the network backbone. Phase I of the development will connect Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo by September 2012. Phase II will be complete by the end of the year.

The 100 Gbps network will connect OARnet to Internet2 through connection points at the northern and southern ends of the state. Internet2, a nationwide advanced networking consortium, spans U.S. and international institutions that are leaders in the worlds of research, academia, industry and government.