Press Releases

Digital Access Ohio, Smart Way Communications to provide last-mile high-speed internet to customers through JobsOhio

January 31, 2023

Posted by: Shriya Raban

Digital Access Ohio, LLC, a middle-mile infrastructure company, has announced the launch of a new wireless broadband tower creating new high-speed internet service in Tuscarawas County.

Digital Access Ohio was formed in 2021 as a partnership between Canton-based Agile Networks and JobsOhio. The mission of Digital Access Ohio is to build, own, market, and operate up to 75 new telecommunication colocation tower sites, principally in rural Ohio. Digital Access Ohio will upgrade 135 existing towers in the state. Wireless Internet Service Providers can leverage this infrastructure to provide last-mile broadband capabilities across the state.

Smart Way Communications, LLC will be the first entity to utilise the open-access network constructed by Digital Access Ohio to provide last-mile high-speed internet to customers. Digital Access Ohio and Smart Way anticipate that the activation of this new tower will help facilitate internet access for as many as 2,400 households and 125 businesses in the area surrounding the tower.

“We are excited for the impact this will have on rural living in Ohio,” says Ryan Grewell, smart way communications general manager.

The partnership supports Ohio’s Broadband Strategy, which specifies using economic development and entrepreneurial initiatives to expand broadband. The strategy was established by the DeWine-Husted Administration in 2019 to improve access for the unserved and underserved groups in Ohio.

“You cannot be part of the modern economy, education, or healthcare system without access to high-speed internet,” says Lt. governor Husted. “That is why, since the beginning of this administration, we have worked through BroadbandOhio to enhance and expand broadband throughout the state. Today’s announcement will be encouraging news to those lacking access in the region and another step towards closing the digital divide in Ohio.”

The initiative is also a component of JobsOhio’s Inclusive Economic Development strategy, which ensures all Ohioans have equitable access to essential resources and economic opportunities. Additional information regarding locations to be served by the Digital Access Ohio network, including tower locations, will be made available by Digital Access Ohio in the future.

“Investing in dependable access to broadband strengthens Ohio’s economic competitiveness and is a core pillar of our inclusive economic development strategy,” says JobsOhio president and CEO J.P. Nauseef. “Broadband is essential to expanding a modern economy and talented workforce and will enable Ohio’s economy to access thousands of hard-working, creative people.”

“JobsOhio and the State of Ohio have developed an innovative strategy to expand high-speed broadband access, including through fixed wireless,” says Lawrence Chu, vice chairman and global head of telecommunications at Jefferies and former special advisor to the Federal Communications Commission. “Building out high quality middle mile infrastructure networks such as Digital Access Ohio will be critical to enable fixed-wireless solutions not only in the Midwest but nationally.”

“We are pleased to be part of the announcement by JobsOhio, in cooperation with Digital Access Ohio and Smart Way Communications, of the investment in this new infrastructure and tower,” says state senator Al Landis. “This project is a great step forward in providing high-speed internet access to all Ohioans, especially those in the 31st Senate District. My constituents will now be better equipped with broadband internet access desperately needed in their homes, workplaces, and schools.”

“We are well into the digital era, and unfortunately, many places, like Tuscarawas County, could not stay connected and involved in a modern economy,” says state representative Brett Hillyer. “I am grateful to the commitment of JobsOhio, Agile Networks, and Smart Way Communications in helping our community stay involved in this modern world.”

Expanding broadband infrastructure is a vital issue impacting Ohio’s economic competitiveness and is a critical resource for individuals seeking to participate in the modern economy. Nearly one-million Ohioans need access to high-speed internet, according to BroadbandOhio.

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