Ashtabula County Selected For BroadbandOhio Community Accelerator Program

28 August 2023

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik today announced that seven teams from nine counties will participate in the second cohort of the BroadbandOhio Community Accelerator program.

The program, which is aimed at helping communities create localized broadband expansion plans, is led by the Ohio Department of Development's BroadbandOhio and The Ohio State University Extension Office. Participating communities receive individualized support to identify broadband goals, gather data, understand available funding options, target capital dollars to support implementation, and expand workforce development.

“Empowering our communities with tools to effectively embrace broadband expansion is not just an investment in technology, but an investment in the collective growth of our great state,” said Governor DeWine.

The participating teams for this round of the Accelerator program include teams from Ashtabula County, Henry County, Lucas County, Monroe County, Paulding County, Union County, and a combined team representing Hocking, Athens, and Perry counties.

"In a world driven by connectivity, the ability to make the most of these resources is more than an advantage – it’s a necessity for participating in the modern economy,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The expertise gained through the Community Accelerator program will help local communities with their broadband expansion goals, providing more opportunity for the Ohioans living in these regions.”

Graphic with text showing the communities chosen for the Community Accelerator Program

“At the heart of every successful broadband expansion project are the community leaders working tirelessly to close the digital divide at the local level,” said Director Mihalik. “We’ve already seen how this program has inspired the teams that participated in last year’s cohort, and we’re looking forward to even more success stories coming from this second group in the near future.”

Four teams participated in the inaugural cohort of the Accelerator program last year made up of 50 representatives from 11 counties across the state.

“We consider broadband essential infrastructure, just like water and electric services, but it is a complex issue and understanding the barriers we face in our region was a challenge,” said Gina Collinsworth, who led the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) team representing Adams, Brown, Clermont, Lawrence, Scioto and Vinton counties last year. “In addition to all the helpful education and expertise we gained through the program, the testimonies from people in communities with proven, on-the-ground successes were the most valuable. The examples they brought to the group helped us visualize how to apply their solutions in our own communities. Now, one year later, we are seeing success stories in our own region.”

“The BroadbandOhio Community Accelerator program changed everything for the future of Tuscarawas County,” said Marla Akridge, executive director of the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation, a 2022 cohort participant. “Thanks to this program, we have goals, plans, processes, and a strong vision of the need for broadband in our communities.”

The Ohio Department of Development empowers communities to succeed by investing in Ohio’s people, places, and businesses. Learn more about our work at