A great first step in Ohio

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has begun chipping away at the digital divide in his state. Strickland has issued an executive order establishing the Ohio Broadband Council, a promising first step toward bringing high speed Internet access to each of Ohio's 88 counties.

Gov. Strickland's order is certainly encouraging, and it's essential for Ohio's future. But Ohio will need to act more decisively to create a climate that helps ensure that residents in all 88 counties of the state have access to broadband for their homes and businesses. A "Connect Ohio" program, modeled after the successful Connect Kentucky program and complete with comprehensive data collection and strong public-private partnerships, is needed to identify areas that are currently underserved and help those communities organize to bring in investment in "last mile" infrastructure.

After all, as Gov. Strickland's executive order declares,

Access to broadband is as critical to advanced technology and service industry employers as are roads, rails and electric service to manufacturers. Building on the State's investment in broadband infrastructure will help create a competitive, well-connected state economy.

Hopefully this order is the beginning of a comprehensive and sustained effort to topple Ohio's digital divide once and for all.

Ohio Governor Eyes Statewide Broadband (National Journal)

Executive Order 2007 – 24S: Establishing the Ohio Broadband Council and Broadband Ohio Network

Ohio's future virtually depends on broadband (Chillicothe Gazette)

High speed in the Blue Grass (Speed Matters)