Brown Announces New Resources to Expand Broadband Service for 6,000 Rural Ohioans

New FCC Funding Will Be Used to Build Broadband Infrastructure Over the Next Three Years; More than 350,000 Ohioans Lack Access to High-Speed Internet

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced new resources to connect 6,000 rural Ohioans with affordable broadband service. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund will provide Frontier Communications Corp. and CenturyLink Inc. in Ohio with $1,814,100 to build broadband infrastructure in more than 2,300 locations around Ohio over the next three years.

“The Connect America Fund supports the vast improvements our state has made in expanding broadband access,” Brown said. “But more still needs to be done. By connecting rural Ohio to the Web and bridging the ‘digital divide’, Ohio’s rural schools, businesses, and communities have an opportunity to compete on a national and global level.”

Currently, Ohio has the 40th lowest rate of rural broadband availability in the United States with more 40 percent of Ohio’s rural population lacking high-speed Internet access. Internet affordability, reliability, and adoption challenges persist in many parts of the State.

Brown has worked tirelessly to bring broadband access to Ohio’s rural communities. In April, Sen. Brown introduced the Connecting Rural America Act, which would strengthen U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that provide for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service to underserved, rural communities. This legislation was included in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act- or the Senate farm bill- which reauthorizes the existing Rural Broadband Loan Program. The farm bill passed in the Senate on June 21, 2012.

In 2010, Brown helped secure funding for a project that is expanding access to broadband for 34 counties in Appalachia. The project will deploy more than 1,900 miles of fiber optic network to connect nearly 600 community anchors. In June 2010, Brown wrote to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in support of the OMMC for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. After the Connecting Appalachia application was denied in the first round of consideration, Brown’s office convened a roundtable of stakeholders in preparation for the second round. In March 2010, Brown also wrote to National Telecommunications and Information Administration Assistant Secretary Strickling in support of the OMMC Connecting Appalachia application.

Below is a county-by-county breakdown of rural broadband access in Ohio.

County

Rural population

Ohioans Without Broadband Access

Percent of Ohioans without Broadband Access

Adams

25,375

9,946

39.2

Allen

27,452

1,733

6.3

Ashland

33,101

1,729

5.2

Ashtabula

46,737

22,992

49.2

Athens

27,760

7,028

25.3

Auglaize

17,983

1,209

6.7

Belmont

38,349

18,079

47.1

Brown

34,236

5,187

15.2

Butler

34,453

1,137

3.3

Carroll

20,294

4,450

21.9

Champaign

28,465

583

2

Clark

32,508

459

1.4

Clermont

45,031

618

1.4

Clinton

23,104

2,593

11.2

Columbiana

46,980

8,337

17.7

Coshocton

22,478

10,132

45.1

Crawford

15,247

1,030

6.8

Cuyahoga

7,322

5

0.1

Darke

35,013

4,447

12.7

Defiance

17,096

979

5.7

Delaware

34,140

2,617

7.7

Erie

20,307

410

2

Fairfield

50,834

3,341

6.6

Fayette

13,903

789

5.7

Franklin

15,431

71

0.5

Fulton

24,000

1,696

7.1

Gallia

25,170

11,924

47.4

Geauga

59,707

2,014

3.4

Greene

24,052

3,409

14.2

Guernsey

24,457

6,306

25.8

Hamilton

17,869

5

0

Hancock

23,170

1,297

5.6

Hardin

17,757

4,261

24

Harrison

13,260

1,822

13.7

Henry

19,433

660

3.4

Highland

31,712

9,280

29.3

Hocking

20,855

7,600

36.4

Holmes

39,313

17,189

43.7

Huron

29,901

2,288

7.7

Jackson

21,405

6,338

29.6

Jefferson

27,007

2,661

9.9

Knox

34,129

5,728

16.8

Lake

14,933

205

1.4

Lawrence

28,679

6,279

21.9

Licking

59,406

3,591

6

Logan

26,035

3,943

15.1

Lorain

35,493

1,565

4.4

Lucas

20,413

356

1.7

Madison

21,229

711

3.3

Mahoning

35,750

1,382

3.9

Marion

20,014

1,516

7.6

Medina

51,396

780

1.5

Meigs

19,155

6,411

33.5

Mercer

25,039

556

2.2

Miami

31,540

699

2.2

Monroe

14,184

12,412

87.5

Montgomery

22,978

192

0.8

Morgan

12,203

5,995

49.1

Morrow

30,884

3,558

11.5

Muskingum

40,386

9,096

22.5

Noble

9,164

4,626

50.5

Ottawa

20,417

523

2.6

Paulding

15,991

660

4.1

Perry

27,201

13,128

48.3

Pickaway

28,168

996

3.5

Pike

21,334

2,720

12.7

Portage

52,695

1,485

2.8

Preble

29,202

2,043

7

Putnam

29,177

352

1.2

Richland

39,453

4,430

11.2

Ross

45,952

1,010

2.2

Sandusky

26,722

1,610

6

Scioto

43,281

4,763

11

Seneca

26,800

1,446

5.4

Shelby

25,221

2,505

9.9

Stark

50,695

1,372

2.7

Summit

20,752

82

0.4

Trumbull

56,794

5,068

8.9

Tuscarawas

38,440

10,948

28.5

Union

26,397

5,387

20.4

Van Wert

14,519

1,073

7.4

Vinton

13,331

5,190

38.9

Warren

36,995

3,175

8.6

Washington

35,198

11,708

33.3

Wayne

58,388

10,607

18.2

Williams

23,895

1,502

6.3

Wood

37,102

1,728

4.7

Wyandot

12,940

1,847

14.3

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