Ohio makes strides in closing the digital divide

Both public and private entities are successfully bringing broadband services to previously unserved or underserved residents in Ohio and the Appalachia area.

Recently, a partnership between the state of Ohio and AT&T brought broadband access to several southern Ohio communities, including Cheshire, Mercerville, Patriot and Vinton in Gallia County and Arabia-Waterloo in Lawrence County.

The efforts of State Senator John Carey, Rep. Clyde Evans, and AT&T will have a tangible and lasting impact on the residents of these areas.

Phil Taylor, the owner of Taylor Made Countertops near Patriot, Ohio, directly benefits from broadband access in his greater ability to purchase materials for his custom countertops from out-of-state manufacturers who offer discounts for online purchases.

"It definitely is a good thing," Taylor says. "Dial-up takes so long that I don't usually have time to do it."

With the new high-speed connection, he--and the many other residents--can access the Internet in a more efficient, reliable, and affordable way.

Though, as Sen. Carey says, the benefits of high speed Internet extend beyond economic development. "At home and in school, advanced technologies such as AT&T's broadband offerings can add real value to how we live and learn," he said.

An Ohio based company has brought the bookmobile into the era of broadband, changing the way that students access book and other learning materials. OverDrive, Inc. developed the Digital Bookmobile--a 74-foot 18-wheeler equipped with broadband interconnected computers, portable media players, and high-definition monitors.

All of this technology gives visitors access to eBooks, music, videos, audio books, and other materials from the local library. The Digital Bookmobile tours nationally, and is another example of Ohio's mark on the national push for greater Internet access and use.

Justin Fallon, Gallia County Commissioners President, sums up well the example that Ohio can provide for other states:

"The service we now have available here is the latest technology and is an example of what public/private partnerships can accomplish. The need for high speed internet is essential out here in rural areas so that our children have access for educational purposes and so that small businesses are able to expand their reach."

Broadband expands to four Gallia communities (Gallipolis Daily Tribune)

Benefits (Speed Matters)

eCommunity Strategies (Connect Ohio)