As the many middle-mile networks built by federal broadband stimulus, state and some private-sector efforts light up, broadband is not magically appearing on residential and business doorsteps as some local broadband champions mistakenly expected to happen. There's a lot of finger pointing, wailing and gnashing of teeth in communities as they subsequently try to figure out how to move last-mile projects forward.
OneCommunity announced a $2 million Big Gig Challenge grant to help public and private entities build community fiber networks in the nonprofit's 2,000-mile, 11-county coverage area. Their middle-mile fiber network is dedicated to propelling northeastern Ohio to the forefront of broadband innovation.
Listeners who want to move the last-mile ball forward despite the challenges to finding money and other resources will learn much from OneCommunity's COO Brent Lindsay and Economic Development Manager Liz Forester. They discuss the grant program and offer recommendations for other entities that want to create similar programs to drive last-mile buildouts to connect with middle mile infrastructure. Money is important, but Lindsay and Forester also describe the types of programs that must be in place so communities can maximize grants and other funding.
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