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Recent News // Residents Want Better Internet: A Technology Action Plan for Meigs and Vinton Counties

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For those living in Meigs and Vinton Counties, it’s not easy to connect to the digital world. Even when people can access the internet, a large majority (69% of subscribers) report that they’re dissatisfied with their current service; 80% of those say their speed is simply too slow to effectively use the internet; and another 61% say their connection is unreliable.

“On the surface, the ‘speed’ of someone’s internet service may not sound significant, but imagine if you need to work from home and you can’t keep your online job simply because you cannot load the internet at the rate needed,” said Stu Johnson, Executive Director of Connect Ohio. “The same goes for having an unreliable connection. Many families and businesses in small towns or rural areas can be left out of so many opportunities just because they cannot depend on their internet access.”

Connected Nation, through its local subsidiary, Connect Ohio, has partnered with Meigs and Vinton county leadership via the Connected Community Engagement Program (Connectedsm) to come up with a set of solutions to help bring internet access to more families and businesses.

The community-specific Technology Action Plan (TAP) was developed following a regional, months-long study that looks at access, adoption, and use of the internet for both counties. Area businesses, residents, schools, libraries, and other stakeholders were surveyed to more accurately identify where there are gaps in coverage and what can be done to improve internet access for everyone.

The study identifies the makeup, including the challenges, of broadband (high-speed internet) within the two counties. Those findings include:

·         Several communities in the area have large gaps in available service, including Eagle, Harrison, Jackson, Richland, Swan, Brown, Knox, Madison, Vinton, Wilkesville, Columbia, Salem, Bedford, Lebanon, and Letart Townships

·         62.5% of employers feel that technology training is moderately or very important

·         22% of residents telework with some frequency

·         Public safety officials describe mobile broadband service as, on average, “poor to fair”

Solutions to the Problem of Not Enough Access
“Following our surveys in any community, our Connectedsm team takes the data and conducts a structured evaluation of what we learned,” said Eric Frederick, Director of the Connected Program. “We then come up with a series of recommendations for that community. The local stakeholders, who we call ‘community champions,’ ultimately decide which ones they would like to make a priority in the short- and long-term for their community.”

For Meigs and Vinton Counties, Connected Nation made ten recommendations (listed on page 56 in the below report) to improve access to, among others, its residents, businesses, schools, and libraries. The community team identified the following four recommendations as priorities for the community:

1.    Develop public-private partnership to deploy broadband service

2.    Perform a broadband build-out analysis and validate demand for broadband service in underserved areas

3.    Complete a vertical asset inventory

4.    Digital equity – promote low-cost broadband service offerings for vulnerable populations

Click here to read Meigs-Vinton Counties’ entire Technology Action Plan, which includes further data on the broadband landscape of the counties.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Denson, Communications Manager
(502)341-2024  or jdenson@connectednation.org 

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Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The Connected Community Engagement Program works with local communities to identify the challenges and solutions to broadband expansion.

We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.