A government agency has awarded a $27,500 grant to study the possibility of implementing a fiber network to speed up internet access throughout Trumbull County.

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced on Tuesday that grant is being given to the Trumbull County Planning Commission for a Broadband Feasibility Study.

Broadband involves data transmission technologies that are always on and capable of simultaneously transporting multiple signals and traffic types between the Internet and users at download speeds ranging from 4 megabytes per second to 25 Mbps and for uploading content to 3 Mbps. The FCC notes that 13.1 percent of American households do not have access to broadband.

The study will analyze adoption rates, competition, and pricing; conduct a needs assessment for area businesses, schools, hospitals, and other anchor institutions; review current trends in telecommunications technologies, and develop a framework for a structure to govern the fiber network as a publicly owned and operated utility.

The grant is a portion of the more than $13 million being distributed by the Appalachian Regional Commission to support broadband development and expansion in rural and/or underserved areas in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia impacted by a downturn in the coal industry.

In all, the commission announced a $44.4 million investment package to expand and diversify the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative.

Fifty-four awards in all are projected to create or retain over 5,700 jobs, leverage more than $39 million in private investment, create and/or retain 2,940 businesses, and train thousands of workers and students within the broadband, entrepreneurship, substance abuse recovery, tourism and other industry sectors across coal-impacted communities in nine Appalachian states including Ohio and Pennsylvania.