Summit County, Ohio, is planning to spend $75 million on a fiber internet project that will include building a 125-mile fiber optic ring to connect public safety entities in all 31 county communities and help expand internet access for residents and businesses. There are also plans in the works to work with private internet service providers, who could spend up to $300 million on the project, making the total figure for a potential public-private project nearly $400 million.
Public officials in Ohio fear that language in the state's proposed $75 billion budget could put municipal broadband internet services out of business. The language, which appears aimed at protecting private broadband providers, was inserted without prior public discussion during recent Ohio Senate deliberations on the state's two-year budget. Local officials say this would endanger planned upgrades to public safety services, improved school and library services, plus business and economic development tools.