DOVER (WJER) (Jan. 23, 2023) – Ohio and county officials are celebrating the milestone of a statewide broadband initiative to expand high-speed internet to underserved areas.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted was at Breitenbach Winery today to announce that the first wireless broadband tower resulting from a new state and private sector partnership has been launched in Tuscarawas County.
The state’s economic development corporation JobsOhio offered the financing, Digital Access Ohio of Canton is installing the infrastructure for this initiative all across the state, and SmartWay Communications of Uhrichsville is their first local internet service provider.
“This could not and would not have happened without JobsOhio finding a private sector company who had Ohio’s interests at heart to collaborate with to accomplish what is being announced today,” Husted said. “And aren’t you lucky to happen to be the first county where this is happening, here in Tuscarawas County, to connect people?”
SmartWay General Manager Ryan Grewell says this first launch included Digital Access installing new equipment to an existing tower off Spooky Hallow Road to serve the Sugarcreek area. Broadband speeds there are increasing from 1.4 megabits per second to 524 megabits per second.
Grewell says this is an example of how quickly they can expand coverage.
“We can go deploy new areas within 90 days, and we can do multiple sites concurrently,” said Grewell. “Whereas, building a site, if they have to build a tower, sometimes that’s going to take six months, nine months, somewhere in that range.”
State Senator Al Landis, State Representative Brett Hillyer, the Tuscarawas County commissioners, and numerous business and civic leaders were in attendance for the announcement.
SmartWay and WJER Radio are both members of the Lauren International family.