C o n n ec t ed Connect Ohio Quarterly
Every Citizen Online Public Awareness Campaign How Businesses Are Thriving With WIFI Ways to Use LinkedIn for Professional Growth
Production Staff make finishing touches prior to filming the Every Citizen Online public service announcement.
Middle Mile Project in Appalachian Ohio Sparks Interest in Community There are many up and coming broadband projects in the State of Ohio to improve broadband infrastructure. One example, Horizon Telecom, will expand existing networks to fill the gaps in broadband infrastructure for around 34 rural counties, including Washington County. The Ohio Department of Development recently held a small event in Washington County detailing the recently funded broadband infrastructure projects for which groundbreaking will soon begin. It was nice to see local public officials and small business owners come out for this event to learn more about projects that will greatly impact Southeast Ohio. Horizon Telecom plans to deploy 1,960 miles of fiber-optics to build fiber rings to directly connect 592 community anchor institutions, support last-mile expansion, and interconnect with the Ohio Middle Mile Consortium. The outpouring of support and dedication in this area to provide all county residents with the option to subscribe to broadband service is impressive. Connect Ohio will continue to assist with all efforts statewide to increase broadband availability.
In the Community Are you a broadband service provider or a utilities company and would like to be part of a program that will potentially connect over 75,000 non-adopting Ohio households to high-speed Internet service? Connect Ohio needs the help of utility companies to place an informational bulletin in customers’ statements to introduce Ohio residents to the free statewide training classes teaching the basics of computer and internet usage. Broadband service providers are also encouraged to participate in providing consumer incentives to individuals who have successfully completed the Every Citizen Online (ECO) program. This is a perfect opportunity to increase subscribership and your customer base exponentially. For more information on the ECO program, please go to: http://connectohio.org/consumer_training/. If interested, please call 1-866-881-9494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Every Citizen Online Public Awareness Campaign................... 3 CenturyLink Shares Broadband Capabilities and Expansion Plans Statewide..............................................................................4 Connect Ohio’s Technical Outreach Team Drives Focus on Last-mile Assistance..................................................... 4 Senior Citizens Take Advantage of Free Basic Computer Training Being Offered in Putnam County................................. 5 Ways to Utilize LinkedIn for Professional Growth.........................6 MARCS Radio Towers Being Used to Expand Broadband........6 Broadband Technology Capabilities Improve Throughout AT&T Coverage Areas...................................................................7
© Connect Ohio 2010 All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.
Here is a behind the scenes look at the Every Citizen Online public service announcement development phase.
Every Citizen Online Public Awareness Campaign Launches Connect Ohioâ€™s statewide broadband training program to increase sustainable broadband adoption will launch December 2010. The project, known as Every Citizen Online, provides free computer training sessions at public libraries and community colleges throughout Ohio and will introduce new users to Internet access and how to best utilize all the Internet has to offer. The goal of the project is to showcase the many educational, healthcare, economic, and communication benefits of broadband use, encouraging adoption by residents statewide. Currently, just 66% of Ohioans subscribe to a broadband service at their home. After completion of the Every Citizen Online project, 200,000 new users will have been introduced to home broadband service. A strategic public awareness campaign for Every Citizen Online has been in creation for months. Production is wrapping and initial distribution will begin December 13, 2010. The campaign consists of produced 15-second, 30-second and 60-second public service announcements that will air on television and radio stations. In addition, a print version of the public service announcement will be distributed to customers of utility companies and broadband service providers in monthly billing statements. The announcements promote the use of broadband as a powerful social and economic tool and direct Ohioans to their local libraries and community colleges for free training through the Every Citizen Online program. Overall, the public awareness campaign is expected to reach 4.2 million broadband nonadopter households 60 times each month. Those interested in free local computer training can call 1-855-NOW-I-CAN (669-4226) to enroll. Additional information can be found at http://www.connectohio.org. l
Did you know that only 66% of households subscribe to broadband service?
CenturyLink Shares Broadband Capabilities and Expansion Plans Statewide Company officials of CenturyLink presented their broadband investment and capabilities to members of the Union County Chamber Infrastructure Committee and other municipal/ county officials and discussed ways to work together to attract businesses and meet broadband goals. “Officials from the Union County group felt the presentation was very worthwhile, educational, and productive,” said CenturyLink Market Development Manager Joanette Romero. “The meeting allowed them to understand where broadband services are provided and how they can plan for their county’s future.” CenturyLink is currently working on projects in Marysville, including increasing Honda’s broadband capacity. CenturyLink has placed more than 183 miles of fiber in Union County alone and continues to build to meet customer needs. More than 85 percent of Union County CenturyLink remote switches are capable of providing broadband services to both residential and business customers. Additionally, the western portion of Union County and the southeastern portion of Marysville is covered by a fiber ring. CenturyLink has committed to bring broadband capability to 100% of its Ohio telephone service area by mid-2012, and currently stands at 93%, according to Romero. Rural broadband expansion projects are currently underway in many western and southeastern counties across the state. The broadband deployment focuses predominantly on households that currently do not have any type of access to high-speed
Internet services and improves underserved connections through software and hardware updates. More than 700 additional households in western counties of the state will have the option to subscribe to broadband following the completion of these projects. CenturyLink has been vigorously working to extend the reach of broadband service in the follow counties: Shelby, Defiance, Wood, Preble, Williams, Van Wert, Fulton, and Auglaize. “All expansion projects should be completed by year-end 2010 in western counties,” Romero said. In the southeast region of the state, CenturyLink is in the process of installing fiber from the McConnelsville office to Crooksville, Crooksville to Junction City, and from Junction City to Glouster. Along this route, CenturyLink will be providing DSL to two additional cities in the McConnelsville exchange and two sites in Junction City will be upgraded to DSL. The fiber build in Morgan County is expected to be complete May of 2011. With CenturyLink’s recent acquisition of Qwest, the combination of both entities creates a robust, national 180,000 route mile fiber network. The combined company will have the national breadth and local depth to provide a compelling array of broadband products and services including high-speed Internet, video entertainment, data hosting and managed services, as well as fiber-to-cell tower connectivity and other high bandwidth services. Log on to www.CenturyLink.com for more information l
Ways to Utilize LinkedIn for Professional Growth LinkedIn is known to many as Facebook for professionals and businesses. Whether you are looking for a job or promoting your business, the website provides valuable avenues for organizational and professional growth and can be so much more than an online resume. Here are a few tips for getting the most from LinkedIn. A LinkedIn account is based on a network of connections. Utilize the site to its fullest potential by building an extensive connections list.
Use your status updates to provide valuable content, recommendations and information about what you or your business can do. Employ the search function to find potential clients or business partners, job postings, and professional contacts. Join LinkedIn groups to connect and interact with specific interest groups. Joining the discussion forums can highlight your knowledge and experience and create new connections. Log on to www.LinkedIn.com for more information l
Connect Ohio Quarterly
Senior Citizens Take Advantage of Free Basic Computer Training Being Offered in Putnam County Lately, senior citizens have been flocking to the local Educational Service Center (ESC) in Putnam County to drink coffee, socialize, and learn basic computer skills. The Connecting Seniors with Coffee and Computers program is a new training initiative being offered at the Putnam County ESC to help senior citizens become more comfortable with computers and other technology items, as well as giving them an atmosphere to socialize with other older residents of the community. “The classes have been developed in order to show senior citizens that computers are a viable resource,” said Putnam County Educational Service Center Curriculum Coordinator Gary Herman.
Putnam County ESC instructors train senior citizens on the basics of the computer.
“We wanted a way to extend the resources the ESC offers to serve more demographics than just traditional students and the Connecting Seniors with Coffee and Computers achieves this goal. It’s a way to give back to the community and provide a positive reflection of the school system.” The first training session that took place on October 25 gathered together 63 senior citizens eager to become more educated on the uses of computers. The first session focused predominately on the very basic uses of computers and November’s session went into further detail on how to use e-mail and upload digital photos. “We only expected 8 to 10 students at our first session, but to our surprise, 63 people showed up and we had to double up the students on the computers since the capacity of the training facility is 30,” said Putnam County Educational Service Center Curriculum Coordinator Beth Hench. Connect Ohio’s research indicates that one of the barriers to broadband adoption is the perceived lack of need. This program outlines a number of needs and actually provides examples of how computers can be used by participants in everyday life. Depending upon demand, classes will take place monthly and the topics will be based around what the current participants want to learn. Seniors citizens who participate in the program will be able to voice their opinions about what exactly they want to learn and how to get the most out of the two-hour class sessions. “Transportation is also made available through the Council on Aging to individuals who are interested in attending the sessions and do not have a way to our facility,” Hench said. l
Senior citizens who have chosen to participate in the Coffee and Computers program observe the marvels of technology while instructors provide hands on assistance.
November Class Sessions When: December 13, 14, and 15 January 18, 19, 24, and 25 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM; Coffee and Refreshments 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM; Learning Session Where: Putnam County ESC (across from the YMCA) Cost: Free Transportation: Call the Council on Aging at 419-523-4121 (48 hours advanced notice is required) Registration: 30 person maximum per class. Please register by calling 419-523-5951
MARCS Radio Towers Being Used to Expand Broadband Existing structures such as Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) towers, owned by the State of Ohio, are being utilized by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) to expand service in areas that are difficult to reach using cable service, fiber optic connection or phone lines. Until recently, the use of MARCS towers was limited to support only public safety communications. “Although public safety remains a priority, the State has agreements with public and private entities to co-locate on specific MARCS towers,” Ohio MARCS Program Manager Darryl Anderson said.
By gaining access to MARCS towers, Coshocton County Commissioners, Omnicity, and Lightspeed Technologies supported the successful and continuing expansion efforts of broadband wireless services to unserved residents in the county. If you are a county government and/or broadband service provider and would like more information on leasing space on a MARCS tower, please call the MARCS Network Operations Center at 1-866-OHMARCS (1.866.646.2727) or email MARCS. INFO@OIT.OHIO.GOV. l
MARCS manages numerous tower sites statewide, providing radio coverage throughout the state. By nature of their locations and height, many entities are potential users of the excess capacity afforded by these towers. Public safety and service agencies, private cellular, and other wireless providers, as well as private enterprises with wireless radio needs can benefit from them. “The state is committed to continuing to work with public-private partnerships to leverage strategic assets to support broadband connectivity across Ohio,” Anderson stated. Coshocton County proves to be a great example of the benefit in utilizing existing structures to increase broadband availability countywide.
The Newcomerstown Tower was installed and activated by LightSpeed Technologies on March 2, 2010. This tower will service the Eastern part of Coshocton County following the US 36 valley past West Lafayette and surrounding areas.
Broadband Technology Capabilities Improve Throughout AT&T Coverage Areas AT&T recently announced their innovative U-verse TV is now available to more than 35 percent of households in the company’s Ohio service area, demonstrating yet another company’s commitment to expand broadband availability throughout the state. The company has expanded broadband technology to several wire centers, especially in rural parts Ohio. AT&T plans to further broadband expansion, as well as upgrade fiber networks and
internet-based technologies, in an effort to bring new services to Ohioans. According to a recent press release from the company, “AT&T has invested more than $200 million in its wireless and wireline networks during the first half of 2010.” The release also states that AT&T plans to continue investing in fiber network upgrades, further broadband deployment, and continued on next page
Connect Ohio Quarterly
PARTNER Spotlight: New Era Broadband New Era Broadband is a small Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) serving Appalachian Meigs County, Ohio. New Era provides a variety of speeds and services to deliver a wireless solution to businesses and households. Wireless solutions have the advantage of being able to reach many homes and businesses that are not serviced by a local phone company (DSL) or cable operator (Cable Internet). New Era continues to be pro-active in the implementation and deployment of fixed wireless services in order to connect residents desperately seeking a high-speed Internet solution in rural Ohio. New Era’s most recent project, the Broadband Infrastructure Project for Advancement of Rural Economic Development, will deliver broadband and high speed broadband services to more than 3,000 unserved residences, businesses and critical facilities in rural Appalachian Meigs County, Ohio, providing economic development opportunities and facilitating emergency services. For more information, visit www.newerabroadband.com New Era Broadband’s Service Area in Meigs County, Ohio.
Broadband Technology Capabilities Improve Throughout AT&T Coverage Areas continued from previous page
Internet-based technologies over the next several years to bring new services to Ohio consumers. AT&T’s U-verse TV is 100 percent Internet Protocol-based television (IPTV), utilizing the same digital streaming techniques as when watching video on the internet. The new technology brings with it competition between providers. Senate Bill 117, passed by both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate and signed into law by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland in 2007, encouraged new investment and competition between video franchising systems. Since the bill was passed, millions of dollars have been invested in the state’s digital infrastructure, offering competitive pricing and more choices. “Upgrading hardware is crucial in providing Ohio residents with adequate Internet access,” Connect Ohio’s Technical Outreach Manager said. “By installing fiber-rich networks, the quality of TV, high speed Internet, and wireless services can increase substantially.” A number of broadband service providers are developing Internet Protocol-Based services in which subscribers can take advantage of features such as the ability to view incoming calls and voicemail notifications and call history on the TV and even initiate calls using a PC or TV. This innovative technology is a way of using fiber to its fullest potential. l
For additional information on AT&T 7 U-verse, please call 800-ATT-2020.
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Connect Ohio’s Technical Outreach Team Drives Focus on Last-mile Assistance Connect Ohio has formed a new Technical Outreach team dedicated to closing the remaining availability gap. Assistance may be offered in the form of: identification of unserved areas; project planning; project management; meeting facilitation; research; wireless propagation studies; RFP/RFI consulting; and grant writing assistance. “The Technical Outreach position serves to supplement Connect Ohio efforts by putting more boots on the ground to assist stakeholders in navigating through the, often arduous, last-milelandscape,” said Technical Outreach Coordinator Ira Dye. Technical Outreach Advisors will continue to interact with local planning teams that currently exist. The Connect Ohio Last-Mile Enablement Project will provide the infrastructure assessments for local stakeholders across the state to effectively determine the best practices to increase broadband capacity statewide.
Connect Ohio will continue projects in mapping, data collection, service area validation, and last-mile enablement efforts for at least three additional years, through the State Broadband Data Development program required of each state by the federal government. The Technical Outreach team works together with Connect Ohio’s ongoing community engagements, which also focus on broadband adoption and awareness.