O’Loughlin advocates for government support of rural broadband

Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, pushed state and federal government officials to provide financial support for rural broadband initiatives in a letter to the editor in the Saturday Columbus Dispatch.

“Rural America already faces stiff economic challenges,” O’Loughlin said in the letter. “Fewer than 15 percent of American businesses are located in rural areas and small towns. Inadequate high-speed internet access is making the problem worse and contributing to the exodus of talented young people. The convergence of new technology and partnerships has made rural broadband deployment more achievable than ever, but high costs remain the biggest obstacle to distribution.”

O’Loughlin noted the OEC’s support for Ohio House Bill 378, which would establish the Ohio Broadband Grant Program, but added that additional federal funding is needed to achieve universal broadband access across the United States.