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Co n n ec t ed Connect Ohio Quarterly

More research added to BroadbandStat Work of Connect Ohio, Connected Nation recognized Broadband boosts rural store

summer 2010 


Partnerships lead to successful mapping updates We’re glad to partner with many great organizations throughout Ohio. And we’re happy to report these partnerships are mutually beneficial. Our sincere thanks go out to our partners who have provided us with broadband service data. Because of your help, we have added technology type and layers that better show connectivity data to our existing BroadbandStat mapping service. This data has proven to be helpful for prospective customers who can now find service providers at their home address. Inquires from consumers help us identify new areas where aggregated demand may justify new and productive investments. And our mission is for this information to lead to increased broadband adoption across the state. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

In the Community Connect Ohio is committed to sharing its mission of helping to extend affordable high-speed Internet service to every Ohio household in the community. Above, Executive Director Tom Fritz appeared on Town Hall Ohio with Chris Henney of the Ohio Farm Bureau to discuss efforts to expand broadband access in the state and the benefits high-speed Internet gives to individuals and businesses. Below, Fritz spoke about the mission of Connect Ohio during a presentation to Information Technology students at Ohio University. The conference was called “Telecom of Today: A Local and Global Outlook.”

We’re planning biannual mapping and data updates in the future, so bookmark our BroadbandStat Web site. It’s a service that will continue to improve the lives of Ohioans and produce valuable results for our partners. Contact our office at info@connectohio. org with any questions or suggestions you may have about BroadbandStat. We value your input. Tom Fritz Executive Director Connect Ohio

Connect Ohio is a nonprofit, technology-neutral, public-private partnership that works with telecommunications providers,business and community leaders, information technology companies, researchers, public agencies, libraries and universities in an effort to help extend affordable high-speed Internet service to every Ohio household.

Table of Contents

For more information about what Connect Ohio is doing to accelerate technology in Ohio’s communities, visit: www.connectohio.org.

More research added to BroadbandStat................................. 3 Work of Connect Ohio, Connected Nation recognized..........4 New broadband expansion project impacts rural areas of Pike and Adams counties............................................................ 4 Broadband boosts rural store...................................................... 5 What’s happening around Ohio..................................................6 Free computers are a hit in state libraries...................................6 Partner Spotlight: Minford Telephone Company.......................7 Indians use broadband to reach fans........................................7

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More research added to BroadbandStat New mapping data connects Ohioans with services Connect Ohio is offering Ohio residents a robust guide to available broadband services with its new mapping data, which is now available on the initiative’s Web site. The maps are based on information derived through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Data Improvement Act and the State Broadband Data Development Program. “The new data includes technology type, advertised speeds and layers that better show connectivity data for communities throughout the state,” Connect Ohio Executive Director Tom Fritz said. “This information will be useful to customers seeking new or improved broadband service.” The new mapping data comes in addition to February’s release of BroadbandStat, a mapping service which offers local and state-wide education and population demographics, current broadband speeds and availability and research about the barriers to broadband adoption. Connected Nation, Connect Ohio’s parent organization, joined forces with ESRI, a market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, to create the revolutionary application. All Connected Nation partner states and territories will be using BroadbandStat to organize the results of data currently being collected on available broadband services. Connected Nation currently produces mapping and broadband data in twelve states and one territory. Ohio’s latest mapping research can be found at http://www.connectohio.org/mapping_ and_research/interactive_map.php Funding for the Ohio projects came from a $1.8 million federal grant awarded to the state last December in order to compile and map broadband availability, including location, available speed and type of technology delivering the service. The maps are updated semi-annually and include data provided by more than 100 broadband service providers across the state. l

www.connectohio.org

According to Connect Ohio’s research, broadband service is available to more than 95 percent of Ohio households.


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Work of Connect Ohio, Connected Nation recognized Efforts of Connect Ohio and its parent organization, Connected Nation, to expand broadband adoption and access have been touted in recent hearings held on Capitol Hill. In testimony before a Congressional subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R, OH-5), lauded the work of Connected Nation and Connect Ohio, specifically the research on broadband adoption in the state and commitment to public-private partnerships. “Connected Nation has been a key component at raising awareness (in Ohio),” Latta said in his opening remarks. Connected Nation Chief Policy Officer Laura Taylor also provided testimony during the hearing, which was held to discuss the recent National Broadband Plan. Her testimony explained how Connected Nation’s efforts have helped bridge the digital divide across much of the nation.

“Connected Nation has been a key component at raising awareness (in Ohio).” Bob Latta

U.S. Rep. Zack Space (D, OH-18) applauded Connected Nation’s “great work” done in overcoming the first hurdle to broadband expansion – mapping, calling Connected Nation “one of the nation’s leaders” in broadband mapping. Space also said he has a lot of faith in the work being done at Connect Ohio and cited the map of Ohio’s broadband coverage as proof. l

New broadband expansion project impacts rural areas of Pike and Adams counties A southwest Ohio wireless Internet service provider is aiming to bring additional broadband access to several areas with the lowest levels of service in the state. Southern Ohio Communications, Inc. plans to provide high-speed Internet access to sections of Pike and Adams counties currently unserved and/or underserved and also expand its service area. The company currently provides high-speed Internet service in the cities of Waverly, Piketon, and parts of Jasper. Southern Ohio Communications has partnered with Pike Rural Water Company in order to place wireless equipment on existing water towers strategically located on high elevations. The first one is in Newland Ridge, which is just outside Waverly. “These water towers are very valuable assets to use and that’s what makes the expansion project affordable,” Southern Ohio Communications President Gary Cooper said. “By using vertical infrastructures such as water towers, the cost of this broadband expansion project is reduced significantly. We hope to provide service to 2,000 Pike County residents without high-speed Internet service in their homes.” The company has applied for federal broadband stimulus funding in order to expand broadband service for the expansion.

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“Even though the project has been started without stimulus funding, both county projects can’t be completed without its help,” Cooper said. Once funded, Southern Ohio Communications will begin the Adams County expansion project as well. Until then, the focus will be on Pike County’s broadband deployment until existing funds run out. Connect Ohio research shows that Adams County has a broadband adoption rate of 16 percent, which is the lowest percentage in the state. Pike County’s current broadband adoption rate is 39 percent, which is much lower than the state average of 55 percent. “It’s our hope that broadband adoption percentages will increase dramatically in Pike and Adams counties with the help of Southern Ohio Communications,” Connect Ohio Executive Director Tom Fritz said. For more information, visit Southern Ohio Communications website at http://www.socs.cc l

Summer 2010


Connect Ohio Quarterly

Broadband boosts rural store For over 80 years, Pearl Valley Cheese, which is located in Fresno, has been sharing its diverse collection of cheeses with the local and regional wholesale community. Now the company has reliable access to a whole world of new customers through broadband adoption. Officials with Pearl Valley Cheese approached Coshocton County Commissioners in 2007 with a request for broadband access. They said that although county metro areas have highspeed Internet, those living outside the towns were using dialup or expensive satellite service. “He told us his business depended on the Internet to conduct business as well as the ability to swipe credit cards,” County commissioner Gary Fischer mentioned in a Motorola case study. “Dial-up access was far too slow and unreliable.” Business and county officials worked hard on the project, which culminated in 2009 with the receipt of a $38,400 federal grant to lease telecommunications towers in rural areas which helped connect Pearl Valley Cheese and others in the area with broadband service. Connect Ohio State Operations Manager Bart Winegar said the work of Pearl Valley Cheese and Coshocton County was crucial to bringing increased broadband access to the rural residents of the area. “We’re trying to replicate this model in other areas around the state,” he said. Store officials are citing broadband for creating incremental sales through e-commerce and for generating additional customer traffic and interest in Pearl Valley’s retail store, where visitors can watch staff members produce cheese during mornings and samples are made available to store customers. “Since we’ve been able to upgrade with broadband, we’re now able to network seven office computers together, enhance communications, add purchasing and vending support functions and enhance our facility planning and security,” Pearl Valley Cheese President Chuck Ellis said. “We believe that high-speed Internet access has greatly enhanced our operations and improved the profitability of our company by enabling us to efficiently receive and transmit data with outside entities with whom we work with and rely upon every day.” In addition to Internet and retail sales, Pearl Valley Cheese products are distributed to grocers and specialty retail

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markets in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Connect Ohio’s research shows that broadband-enabled businesses generate twice the sales of their unconnected counterparts and that businesses with both broadband service and a website presence experience sales of 2 1/2 times their competitors with neither. Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Legislative Relations Chris Henney said the agriculture related food processing industry contributes $94 billion annually to Ohio’s economy. But just 48 percent of agricultural businesses use broadband connectivity to maximize their productivity, according to Connect Ohio’s 2009 research. Niche agricultural producers can especially benefit by expanding markets, streamlining ordering processes, and developing efficient partnerships with packaging, shipping, equipment, and other partners. To find out more about how broadband connectivity can improve Ohio’s agricultural output, contact your local Extension agent or Farm Bureau representative. The state office’s phone number is (614) 249-2400, while individual county representative contacts can be found at http://ofbf. “We believe that org/contact/ l high-speed Internet access has greatly enhanced our operations and improved the profitability of our company by enabling us to efficiently receive and transmit data with outside entities with whom we work with and rely upon every day.” Chuck 5 Ellis Pearl Valley Cheese President


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What’s happening around Ohio Northwest Ohio

Northeast Ohio

Dublin, Ohio has the largest Wi-Fi hotzone in central Ohio according to the press release issued by HighSpeedAir, a family-owned business based in Dublin, Ohio, which is responsible for deploying the network. The primary goals of this network are to enhance public safety and improve the city’s operational efficiencies, while also offering a valuable broadband service option to the community. (MuniWireless)

The Massillon Board of Education is talking about adding WiFi to its school buses. Superintendent Lisa Carmichael says research has shown that when students have the ability to connect to the Internet, discipline problems decrease. (The Independent) Wireless communications provider Verizon Wireless has completed the integration of its network with that of Alltel in Medina County. This integration is expected to provide customers with clearer reception, fewer dropped calls and more coverage, including stronger inbuilding coverage. Verizon said that it has been preparing to integrate Alltel's network since completing its purchase of the company last year. (tmcnet.com)

Students in Candace Susa’s Chemistry classes at Dublin Granville High School have been using 120 netbooks for classwork. With the computers students are able to access class questions, labs and notes during the classes and can interface their home computers in the evening with their netbooks at the school. Funding for the netbooks was made courtesy of the Granville Education Foundation. (The Granville Sentinel)

Southwest Ohio

Southeast Ohio

Nearly 1,500 prospective students and parents came to an open house at Cincinnati’s Union Terminal for the Ohio Virtual Academy, a K-12 online charter school. The school supplies the computer, broadband connection, and lessons for students. (WCPO Television) National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford writes in The Cincinnati Enquirer that he applauds investments made in additional Internet access, but warns about proposed increases by some Internet providers.

Frontier Communications is now able to start its broadband expansion efforts in Southeast Ohio after The Federal Communications Commission approved Verizon Communications’ plan to sell nearly 5 million telephone lines in 14 states to Frontier. Athens-based Intelliwave received a $2.28 million federal broadband stimulus award to bring broadband service to Athens, Pickaway, and Fairfield counties. Company officials said the funds will be used over the next 36 months to build wireless “last mile” infrastructure to residents and businesses there. (Wireless Internet Service Providers Association)

Free computers are a hit in state libraries Connect Ohio recently gave away twelve netbook computers as part of a survey on the need and accessibility of computers and Internet in state libraries. The winners were selected from over 7,000 surveys received by the organization. One of them, Tonya Lynn Compton of Union Township, said this was her first computer. “I was so excited when I found out I won,” Compton told officials at the library. “I come to the library every day to use the Internet computers. I’ll still be visiting the library even though I won this computer. I love the library.” l Pictured from left: Dave Mezack, Executive Library Director of Clermont County Public Library; Don Shirley, Connect Ohio State Operations Manger fro Southwest Region; Tonya Lynn Compton, Winner; Beth Lammrish, Clermont County Union Township Library Branch Manager and Ed Humphrey, Clermont County Commissioner.

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Summer 2010


Connect Ohio Quarterly

PARTNER Spotlight: Minford Telephone Company Minford Telephone Company (MTC) started in 1953 offering local landline telephone service. In April of 2000, MTC formed a subsidiary, Falcon1, and started offering dial-up Internet services. Minford Telephone Co. upgraded its entire plant by 2004 to offer DSL to all MTC subscribers. In 2006 MTC started offering Minford Long Distance. In 2009 Minford Telephone Company expanded its serving territory and built fiber to the home in two neighboring towns, Clarktown and Rubyville, Ohio. Minford Telephone Company has currently started construction on Phase 1 of a fiber to the home project in their traditional serving territory. The company is rebuilding the entire plant in phases to have fiber to the home available to all Minford Telephone Company customers. This will also allow other opportunities for Minford Telephone Co. to expand availability as well as increase adoption in the southeast region of Ohio. Minford Telephone Company staff members “Minford Telephone Co. heard about Connect Ohio thru OTA. We support have been offering broadband services to the idea for all rural Americans to have high-speed Internet services their customers since 2004. available to them,” Paula McGraw, Minford Telephone Company General Manager said. “We have worked very hard and we are still working hard to make sure our customers have reliable state of the art technology available to them. Not only does it help us as a small business to have customers sign up for our services, but it also allows so many opportunities for the customer to be able to go online.”

For additional information on Minford Telephone Company, visit www.falcon1.net.

Indians use broadband to reach fans The Cleveland Indians are using a new section of seats with Wi-Fi connections to reach out to fans who want to blog, Facebook and Tweet during games this season at Progressive Field. “We knew that with our fan base being what it is, and for as many as our fans being in the space, we needed to engage with them in a positive manner,” Curtis Danburg, Indians director of communications and creative services, told an ESPN reporter, “to reconnect with fans, or to connect to a new generation with fans that are into social media.” The deck is a new effort to ramp up the team’s social media presence and Indians public relations staff member Robert Campbell said the team has been pleased with the response so far. “The Tribe Social Deck is the physical component of our social media presence,” he said. “It affords attendees the opportunity to not only watch a game live but also network with members of their digital community; often providing attendees the first time to shake hands with someone they had been conversing with for months online.” Campbell also said in-season updates have included the installation of Wi-Fi connectivity and the addition of high-definition television. To apply to watch a game in the social media deck, visit http://www.indians.com/connect l

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Discover the benefits of telecommuting through broadband Telecommuting can provide new opportunities for the American workforce, but to do so, home broadband availability is a must. With unemployment rates among the highest they have ever been, telecommuting could provide many of the unemployed an opportunity to make a living again. About 17.5 million Americans who do not currently work would join the country’s workforce if given the opportunity to telecommute through a broadband connection. The benefits of telecommuting are endless. Not only does telecommuting create jobs and reduce the overhead of operating costs, it even reduces the carbon footprint. And with fewer people driving into work, there will be less cars on the freeway to create traffic jams during the mad rush to the office. Instead of spending time in the car, employees can even get a head start on projects and get more things accomplished daily. Nationally, telecommuters save an estimated $5.7 billion annually in fuel alone. Such a reduction in fuel consumption will significantly contribute to the national goal of energy independence. For more information regarding telecommuting, visit http://www.teleworkexchange.com


Connect Ohio 2010 Summer Newsletter