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232 N. Third St. Suite 201 Columbus, OH 43215 614.220.0190

Stu Johnson - Executive Director

Ohio’s Broadband Landscape While there are many exciting advancements in how we use technology on the horizon, it’s vital to remember that a common misconception is that broadband (also known as high-speed Internet) is ubiquitous. Ohio can boast that nearly 98% of households have broadband availability, though the reality is 14 counties remain under 85% availability, leaving 15% of homes and businesses in these counties without the opportunity for high-speed Internet access (see page 7). Connect Ohio research shows only 66 percent of Ohio households have a broadband connection; that figure drops to 58 percent for rural residents. That adoption gap has significant implications for the economic, educational, and quality of life status of Ohioans. Our research shows that Ohio businesses without broadband earn $188,000 less in annual revenues than businesses with broadband, yet approximately 88,000 state businesses remain unconnected. Additionally, healthcare, educational, and employment opportunities continue to migrate online at breakneck speed. Our research shows the leading barriers to broadband adoption are perceived relevance, lack of a computer, digital illiteracy, and, of course, lack of access to broadband. To address those issues, Connect Ohio has been working on broadband mapping, research, outreach, and training since 2008, and three programs are at the forefront of our efforts to close the adoption gap in 2012.

Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative In conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and Chesapeake Energy, Connect Ohio is administering the Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative task force, comprised of state and local stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The task force has already begun taking immediate action to overcome connectivity barriers and digital literacy gaps in the Appalachia region, holding their inaugural meeting in January. Connect Ohio’s recent Technology Barriers and Adoption in Rural Appalachian Ohio report reveals rural Appalachia areas of the state face significant barriers to the opportunities that the Internet brings due to connectivity and adoption gaps. According to the report: • •

531,000 adults in rural Appalachia do not have home broadband – 124,000 reported that service is either unavailable, or the speeds are insufficient in meeting their needs

• • •

One in three children in rural Appalachian Ohio does not have broadband service at home One out of three households do not have a home computer in the Appalachian region Only 55 percent of residents in rural Appalachian Ohio subscribe to home broadband service, significantly lower than the state average of 66 percent The broadband adoption gap in Appalachia Ohio exists across all income levels, particularly between those at both the highest and lowest income levels

The Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative task force intends to pull Appalachia Ohio to within state and national standards in broadband adoption within 24 months by responding to requests for assistance from community leaders, private industry, Internet providers, public agencies, and others on broadband projects. The task force is identifying and coordinating resources required to facilitate the availability of affordable broadband access and to drive adoption through equipment procurement assistance, as well as through free basic computer training through Connect Ohio’s Every Citizen Online program. Current Task Force Members: Task Force Co-Chairpersons Jason Wilson, Director, Governor’s Office on Appalachia Keith Fuller, Director of Corporate Development, Chesapeake Energy Stu Johnson, Executive Director, Connect Ohio

Project Manager Bart Winegar, Technical Outreach Manager, Connect Ohio

Committees and Committee Chairs Public Agencies – Co-Chair - Katrina Flory, Executive Administrator, Ohio Office of Information Technology Co-Chair - Marianne Townsend, Chief, Telecommunications, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Community Leaders – Chair- Tom Wheaton, Carroll County Commissioner Gregory R. Carver, Columbiana County Knox Township Trustee Chairman Education - Joy Padgett, Director of Government Relations and Grants, Central Ohio Technical College Finance - David Nadler, SVP / Chief Risk Officer, Ohio Valley Bank Non-Profit – Chair- Cara Dingus Brook, President/CEO, The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Robin Kinny, Energy Committee Chair for Rural Action, Internet Committee member of Central Appalachia Regional Network Providers – Chair - Ken Engstrom, Fiber Sales Manager, Horizon Telecom Ed Kozelek, Regional VP of Government Affairs, Time Warner Cable - CABLE Internet Service Provider David Weddell, CEO, Cueband - Wireless Internet Service Provider Dave Davidson, SVP/GM of Ohio, Frontier Communications – Local Exchange Carrier

Last Mile Technical Outreach Connect Ohio is working with numerous broadband providers to close the availability gaps through the Last Mile Enablement Project. This project entails Connect Ohio staff collaborating with county officials, private enterprise, and local leaders to develop propagation studies and business case analyses to enable implementation of broadband expansion plans. Current localized projects include 13 counties, all of which are in the Appalachian Ohio area. The work of the technical assistance team will be a driver in the efforts of the Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative task force, which will broaden the team’s successful locallevel efforts to a regional level. As you can see from the map below, the team’s current projects are all located in the state’s Appalachian area.

Every Citizen Online To bridge the literacy and computer ownership gaps in Ohio, the Every Citizen Online (ECO) effort involves free computer and Internet training to any interested Ohio adult, as well as computer distributions to libraries and community organizations. More than 16,000 adults have taken advantage of the program since its launch in late 2010 and more than 1,100 computers have been distributed. Connect Ohio’s overall project goal is to train 200,000 Ohio adults on the basics of using a computer and the resources available by being connected online. The program currently includes training at more than 250 locations statewide, and 2012 promises to be a watershed year for the ECO effort.

Connect Ohio’s Every Citizen Online program received $6.9 million in federal funding in an effort to increase sustainable broadband adoption and


provide computer training to over 200,000 adults throughout Ohio, as well as 2,000 computers to libraries, community colleges, and other community organizations.


Connect Ohio has partnered with over 100 Ohio libraries, community colleges, workforce and employement centers, and

The goal of the Every Citizen Online program is to showcase the many educational, healthcare, economic, and communication benefits of broadband use, and to encourage adoption by residents statewide. Currently, just 66% of Ohioans subscribe to a broadband service at their home.

community organizations to deliver the

The 3-year program includes:

Broadcasters, Groundwork Group, and the

t 80,000 training hours t 250+ locations t 200,000 non-subscribing household participants

Every Citizen Online training, assisting with the cost of instructors, computers, and public awareness for the three year program. Other partners include the State Library of Ohio, The Ohio Association of Ohio Public Library Information Network. Learn more by calling 1-855-NOW-I-CAN (6694226) or by visiting

t 75,000 incremental adopters t 2,000+ computers provided to libraries, community colleges, and other community organizations t 450,000 total patrons served t $10 million project with $3 million matching funds t 136 total jobs direct, indirect, and induced t 68 direct job-years t 4.2 million households reached 60 times each month through a statewide public service announcement campaign t $31 million in incremental annual subscription

Connect Ohio’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) matching grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BTOP provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

Broadband Federal Reform and Connect Ohio Expanding broadband to under-served areas has become a major tenet of federal policy with the release of the National Broadband Map in February 2011 and a major overhaul of a federal program that will be implemented this year. In November 2011, the Federal Communications Commission announced it will reform the Universal Service Fund (USF), which has historically provided subsidies to provide telephone service to rural areas. The new Connect America Fund will provide $4.5 billion to expand broadband networks across the nation. While many of the details and repercussions of the Connect America Fund remain to be seen, the reform is one of the largest steps ever taken to promote broadband expansion across the US, and Connect Ohio remains entrenched in the proceedings to ensure Ohioans are represented. Those efforts should also support a trend we’ve seen in the increasingly multicultural nature of broadband users/subscribers. Several recent policy decisions (such as USF reform), and programs like Connect Ohio’s Every Citizen Online program, have the potential to get a lot of people connected to broadband who have not necessarily done so in the past (minority populations, low-income residents, rural residents, etc.). These populations have been increasingly going online (thanks in part to mobile technology), but these policies are going to create a whole new category of users. The year 2012 promises to be a key year in the ongoing effort to connect Ohioans and all Americans through the enabling and rapidly evolving technology of broadband. Â

Of the  2.03%  (nearly  100,000)  households  unserved  in  Ohio,  77%  are  located   in  the  Appalachian  Ohio  region.    

Technology Adoption and Barriers in Ohio’s Rural Appalachian Region

November 18, 2011

The Appalachian region of Ohio is distinct from the rest of the state with its rich cultural tradition and history, as well as a unique natural environment. Unfortunately, many residents in this important part of the state are desperately struggling to get connected to broadband. As part of its 2011 Residential Technology Assessment, Connect Ohio recently examined how residents of rural Appalachian Ohio are using broadband. These results show that the region is lagging in broadband adoption when compared to the state as a whole. Only 55% of residents in rural Appalachian Ohio subscribe to home broadband service, significantly lower than the state average of 66%. This translates into 531,000 rural Appalachian adults who do not have access to broadband in their homes. Thus a significantly larger share of rural Appalachian residents still rely on home dial-up service or access the Internet someplace other than home, such as a school or public library (Figure 1).

Among the findings from this survey: •

Approximately 531,000 adults in rural Appalachian Ohio do not subscribe to home broadband service.

One in three children in rural Appalachian Ohio do not have broadband service at home.

Approximately 124,000 adult Ohioans living in rural Appalachia cannot get broadband service, or they cannot get service that is fast enough to meet their needs.

Approximately 72,000 adult Ohioans in rural Appalachia, many of whom have children at home, say they do not subscribe to home broadband service because they can access the Internet someplace else, such as a school or public library.

Nearly one-half of rural Appalachian Ohio residents who do not subscribe to broadband don’t believe the Internet is relevant and feel they do not need it.

Figure 1. Technology Adoption in Rural Appalachian Ohio 18% 2%

8% 6%


Don’t use the Internet at all

13% 10%


Only use the Internet someplace other than home Don’t know if home Internet service is dial-up or broadband

66% 55%

Subscribe to home dial-up service Subscribe to home broadband service

Ohio Average

Rural Appalachia

The broadband adoption gap affects many of Appalachia’s most vulnerable citizens. For example, one-third of rural Appalachian households with children in Ohio do not subscribe to home broadband service. This means that more than 125,000 children living in the region are unable to use broadband to go online from home to do their homework or conduct research that will prepare them for college. While Ohioans residing in rural Appalachia do tend to have lower incomes, the broadband adoption gap exists across all income levels, particularly between those at both the highest and lowest income levels (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Broadband Adoption by Annual Household Income

Income Group Less than $25,000 $25,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $74,999 $75,000 or more

Technology Adoption and Barriers in Ohio’s Rural Appalachian Region


Ohio Average 39% 70% 86% 88%

Rural Appalachia 31% 50% 83% 68%

November 18, 2011

Barriers to Broadband Adoption in Rural Appalachian Ohio Rural Appalachia not only differs in its home broadband adoption rates; Ohioans living in rural Appalachia also differ in the reasons they give for not subscribing. These differences highlight important issues that need to be addressed in this region, such as availability, while also underscoring the important role of public libraries, public computing centers, and other Community Anchor Institutions. In rural portions of Appalachian Ohio, as in the rest of Ohio, the belief that home broadband service is not needed is the top barrier to broadband adoption (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Barriers to Home Broadband Adoption 47%

I don’t need broadband

53% 33% 35%

I don’t own a computer 20%

Broadband is too expensive

25% 7%

I don’t know enough about broadband to feel comfortable going online

13% 14%

I can access broadband someplace else

9% 23%

Broadband isn’t available

8% 5% 7%

Concerns about fraud or identity theft I don’t know what broadband is or anything about it Offered broadband service isn’t fast enough to be worthwhile

1% 3% 1% 1%

Rural Appalachia Ohio Average

Nearly one-half of Ohioans living in rural Appalachia (47%) who do not subscribe to home broadband service say they do not need broadband at home. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as the belief that there is not enough online to make home broadband service worthwhile or that it is not relevant to their lives. The lack of a home computer is also a major barrier in rural Appalachia, which is cited by one out of three households that do not have broadband. While these two barriers tend to follow the statewide trends, there are other points on which rural Appalachians differ from the rest of the state. One large issue is availability. For example, nearly one in four say that they do not subscribe because broadband is not available where they live, or available broadband is not fast enough to be worthwhile to them. This means that approximately 124,000 adult Ohioans living in rural Appalachian counties either cannot get broadband service at all, or they cannot get service that is fast enough to meet their needs. In addition, 14% of Ohioans in rural Appalachia who do not subscribe to broadband service at home say they access broadband someplace else, such as a library, school, or public computing center. This represents approximately 72,000 adult Ohioans, many of whom have children at home, who rely on these institutions to stay connected to the Internet. The fact that these Community Anchor Institutions play such a vital role for so many Ohioans in this region underscores the need for technology adoption programs to support and partner with these institutions to ensure that they are able to act as resources for their communities.

Technology Adoption and Barriers in Ohio’s Rural Appalachian Region


November 18, 2011

How Connect Ohio is Addressing These Issues Since its inception in 2008, Connect Ohio has been working with state and local governments, as well as community leaders and private sector partners, to ensure that affordable broadband is available to every Ohioan. Just as importantly, Connect Ohio is actively working to ensure that Ohio residents see how connecting to broadband can improve their lives in ways they may never have considered. One way that Connect Ohio is helping communities get connected is through our Every Citizen Online (ECO) program at libraries, community colleges, education and career centers across the state. ECO provides Ohioans a series of basic training sessions focusing on an introduction to computers, the Internet, and the benefits of using the Internet. In the Appalachian Ohio region alone, the ECO program has provided over 200 new computers to our partner training facilities for this purpose, and awarded laptops to select graduates that have completed the course. With the biggest barriers to broadband adoption in the Appalachian area being that residents do not feel they have a need to access the Internet, or don’t own a computer, Connect Ohio has worked to increase digital literacy in this area. So far a total of 2,783 students have taken the ECO classes in the Appalachian region, learning what the Internet has to offer and creating a need to extend service to this region. Increasing computer literacy, coupled with extending broadband service to this region, will help to bring this area of the state up to speed with the times. Upon completing ECO classes, 87% of residents said they would subscribe to broadband services from home, when available. To help more communities get connected, Connect Ohio’s technical outreach team has developed its Last Mile Enablement Project. Through this project, Connect Ohio engineers are actively collaborating with county officials, private enterprise, and residents to develop and implement custom, viable, and sustainable broadband expansion projects throughout Appalachia and have been integral in recent successful developments in Washington, Crawford, Belmont, and Meigs counties. By providing residents with the necessary technology as well as the knowledge necessary to use that technology, Connect Ohio helps break down the barriers of access, adoption, and usage across Ohio. Any Ohio adult is eligible to enroll in the program which is geared toward first-time computer and broadband users and more than 15,000 adults have already participated in the Every Citizen Online training since it launched in late December 2010.  

Technology Adoption and Barriers in Ohio’s Rural Appalachian Region


November 18, 2011

Methodology and Definitions Data were collected by telephone through live computer-assisted interviews from a statewide random digit dial (RDD) sample of 1,201 adult heads of households contacted between March 8 and March 29, 2011. On average, each survey took approximately 10 minutes to complete. Data were collected by Thoroughbred Research Group in Louisville, KY. This research was designed to measure technology adoption trends and the awareness of available broadband service. Of the 1,201 respondents randomly contacted statewide, 201 were called on their cellular phones, and 1,000 were contacted via landline telephone. Of these 1,201 respondents, 231 lived in counties defined as being a part of rural Appalachian Ohio. Rural Appalachia contains the following counties in Ohio: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington. Multiple attempts were made to each working telephone number on different days of the week and at different times of the day to increase the likelihood of contacting a potential respondent. To ensure a representative sample, quotas were set by age, gender, and county of residence (rural or non-rural), and the results were weighted to coincide with 2010 United States Census population figures. For the purpose of setting quotas and weighting, “rural� respondents are defined as living in a county that is not a part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget. Weighting and design consultation were provided by Lucidity Research. Based on the effective sample size, the margin of error = + 3.0% for the statewide sample and + 7.2% for the sample of rural Appalachian respondents. As with any survey, question wording and the practical challenges of data collection may introduce an element of error or bias that is not reflected in this margin of error.

Technology Adoption and Barriers in Ohio’s Rural Appalachian Region


November 18, 2011

Key broadband statistics for the State of Ohio Two-Thirds of Ohio residents subscribe to broadband, ranking Ohio above the national average of 63% adults who have high-speed Internet service in their home. 66% of Ohio households have broadband service (up from 55% in 2008). 82% of Ohio residents access the Internet from home or someplace else. 31% of Ohio residents subscribe to mobile wireless broadband, up from 13% in 2008.

Typical Ohio Resident Who Uses the Internet Exploring Hobbies or Personal Interests

74% 58%

Books Travel Arrangements Online


Pays Bills Online


Read Online News Sources


Purchases Goods Online Searching or Applying for Jobs

42% 85%

Uses E-Mail


Owns a Computer

1.8 million adults across the state are still without access to a home computer. Ohioans age 65 or older are less likely to subscribe to home broadband service, and they are also less likely to access the Internet altogether (from home or any other location). Broadband adoption among rural residents is significantly lower than the state average.

Ohio Residents Using Internet for Work Work at Home Online Outside of Normal Business Hours Telework Willing to Telework if Employer Allowed

26% 14% 26%

Among rural non-subscribers, the belief that they do not need broadband or the Internet is still the top barrier, cited by 55% of rural residents without home broadband service. In Ohio, 14% of employed adults report that they telework. Teleworking could also provide an additional boost to the state’s workforce- as much as 28% of non-working Ohio residents would likely join the labor force if empowered by telework. Source: 2011 Connect Ohio Residential Technology Assessment:


Ohio Broadband Landscape 2012  

Connect Ohio's State of Broadband report for Ohio, 2012

Ohio Broadband Landscape 2012  

Connect Ohio's State of Broadband report for Ohio, 2012