Ohio is investing approximately $10 million to expand the speed of its broadband network to 100 Gbps. 

The high-speed boost is something Gov. John R. Kasich believes will foster better research, education, manufacturing and engineering opportunities in Ohio. The announcement was made on Tuesday, Feb. 7, during Kasich’s State of the State address.

The expansion will use the fiber-optic network operated by OARnet, a member of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology Consortium. OARnet provides networking backbone to higher education, research, government, medical, K-12 and public broadcasting.

“We can begin to compete with the Silicon Valley, with The Triangle in North Carolina and with Boston,” Kasich said during his address. “Because we have people who know what they’re doing. We just got to create the climate here so that people are excited about being in Ohio.”

Kasich said Ohio’s fiber would set the state apart from the rest of the country.

A number of major cities in Ohio will be connected to northern and southern connection points of Internet2, a nationwide networking group.

The project will be handled in two phases. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo will be connected by June. Akron, Athens and Youngstown will join in October.

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro called the investment a “game changer.”

“These almost unfathomable speeds are highly sought by leading researchers and job creators in competitive markets around the world,” Petro said in a statement. “This will solidify Ohio’s standing as a technology leader thanks to the vision of our many public and private partners.”

Under an agreement with the state, technology powerhouses Juniper and Cisco will be partners in the project. Phase 1 will include $8.1 million for hardware development, while other unnamed partners will contribute $2.3 million to build an innovation center that will enable and test 100 Gbps technology. The center will be located at The Ohio State University.

“Ohio’s research broadband backbone is already the envy of many other states,” said Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research, The Ohio State University, in a statement. “Accelerating its capacity to 100 Gbps will make Ohio even more attractive … [and] far ahead of the pack in university research collaboration and competition for federal grants.”