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Dayton, Ohio to begin high-speed internet expansion with $200,000 investment

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The City of Dayton is investing over $200,000 to begin expanding high-speed internet access for its residents.

To get the ball rolling, the city has partnered with Apex Advanced Technology LLC to make an inventory of the city’s current fiber optics network capabilities.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that there is a disparity in internet access in Dayton. Some people had access to technology and a good internet connection.

Many, however, didn’t. That negatively impacted education, economic growth, and healthcare access in the city.

Now, Dayton is making efforts to begin expanding its high speed internet to those who need it.

“Ultimately what we’re hoping is that we can determine, okay, where do we have resources that we can bring to bear to address issues of digital equality,” Jon Rike, Dayton’s Chief Information Officer, said. “Where might we have relationships with private sector partners that we can leverage to address some of these issues?”

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, of the roughly 58,000 households in Dayton, around 42% do not have access to reliable broadband/high speed internet access. Many neighborhoods do not have the infrastructure to even support high-speed internet.

The hope is that once the city knows where the inequality is, they can utilize private and public partnerships to begin to build and maintain the infrastructure they need.

“We’ve got to ensure that we have the right network to serve our citizens today and into the future. Because if we don’t focus on that level of investment, we’re going to find ourselves flatfooted in five or ten years.” Rike said.

Other local cities, including Centerville and Kettering, are making similar steps to expand internet access.

The fiber inventory should be completed in early 2023.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.