COLUMBUS – Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that Allen Township, outside of Marysville, will be the site of a pilot project, with the Starlink satellite broadband service developed by SpaceX, to connect select households and small businesses with high speed internet access.
The pilot is part of the DeWine-Husted administration’s commitment to bringing high speed internet access to Ohioans across the state.
The pilot will test the delivery of Starlink’s space-based high speed internet to 90 households and about 10 small businesses. All of the participants are underserved by broadband. It marks the largest Starlink pilot in the Midwest, and it was made possible through the partnership of BroadbandOhio, the city of Marysville, economic leaders in Union County, and JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation.
“This past year has shown that now more than ever, access to high speed internet is an essential element for participating in the modern economy, education and health care systems,” Husted said. “Too many Ohioans have unreliable broadband, or no connection at all, and Gov. (Mike) DeWine and I are committed to finding solutions to this challenge. In the past few months we have actively pursued a demonstration project with Starlink to determine if this new technology strategy can lead to high speed internet accessibility for everyone in our state. We will continue to work with the private sector and our partners in the legislature, and in coordination with those on the federal level, to tackle this issue.”
The pilot is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021, and the service will run at no cost to the participants for 12 months.
“The partnership with Starlink promises to bring innovative connectivity to Marysville and will help us close the digital divide, expanding broadband for all Ohioans,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “High speed internet is essential to growing our economy, advancing education and attracting new businesses to our state, and we are grateful for the collaboration with BroadbandOhio that is allowing us to test this cutting-edge solution.”
Starlink said it can deliver high speed internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.
“Broadband connectivity is the ticket needed for success in today’s economy,” Union County Commissioner Christiane Schmenk said. “This new technology will open up Union County’s economy for our businesses and residents and provide a path forward for future growth. Additionally, it will allow our students to succeed in distance learning, during the global pandemic and as part of their continual education in the future.”
The selected households and businesses will be formally notified in the first quarter of 2021, closer to the start date of service.
“I applaud this and any effort that brings broadband to Ohio and increases the ability for all Ohioans to participate in the modern economy,” said Kenny McDonald, One Columbus President and CEO.
The Starlink pilot marks a return to Ohio for SpaceX as the company has conducted acoustic testing at NASA’s Plum Brook facility for its Falcon 9 rocket nosecone as well as the Starlink satellites themselves. Plum Brook is home to the world’s most powerful spacecraft acoustic test chambers, which can simulate the noise of a launch up to 163 decibels or as loud as the thrust of 20 jet engines. The testing helps ensure both the nosecone and the satellites are not adversely affected by these sounds during launch.
More information about the pilot can be found at JobsOhio.com/broadband-solutions/.