Cincinnati Bell to spearhead Greene County broadband expansion

Greene County is planning to use federal and state funding to expand broadband access to the eastern, north and rural parts of the county. FILE PHOTO

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Greene County is planning to use federal and state funding to expand broadband access to the eastern, north and rural parts of the county. FILE PHOTO

Greene County commissioners have selected Cincinnati Bell to provide broadband expansion to rural parts of Greene County, with the company planning to lay 5 million feet of fiber optic cables in the next several years.

Cincinnati Bell’s Dave Kramer said the company expects to begin delivering broadband to customers in the eastern half of Greene County in the next 18 months, during a commissioners’ meeting earlier this month. It is invested in building fiber infrastructure in Greene County for the next three to four years, including in Xenia, Bellbrook, Jamestown, and parts of Fairborn and Yellow Springs.

Greene County is using a portion of its $33 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and monies from the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program to fund the project. A project cost will be finalized later this year.

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In Greene County, many residents have internet access, but do not have adequate access to broadband. Adequate broadband is 25 megabits per second for downloading files and three megabits per second for uploading files, per the Federal Communications Commission.

Greene County is among the first counties in Ohio to have invested in this much fiber, Greene County Development Director Eric Henry said.

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The western half of the county is already largely serviced by fiber lines, Cincinnati Bell or otherwise, but such expansion has not yet been seen in eastern parts of Greene County because it’s largely rural.

“It doesn’t have the population density to make it make sense to run fiber out there,” Henry said.

Cincinnati Bell stood out from other proposals because it runs fiber directly to a user’s home, Henry said. Instead of having fiber connected to a wireless transmitter, signal will run from cables in the roads straight into thousands of homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.

“Essentially, we’re future-proofing the county,” Henry said. “As technologies continue to progress and advance, we’ll have that hard infrastructure in place to adapt with it. Fiber is the best technology available right now to provide broadband internet, and probably will be for some time. So for business, education, entertainment, we will have the best infrastructure in place to adapt and innovate.”

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Also, it’s built to last, Kramer said.

“This’ll take care of Greene County needs for your grandchildren’s grandchildren,” he said. “We are looking that far in the future.”

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