A new association established to promote communities' role in broadband access officially launched this morning. Broadband Access Ohio will advocate for access to high-speed, secure internet across the state.
Communities across the state have struggled to attract attention from private broadband providers. This can be for many reasons, including difficult terrain within which to build infrastructure or an inability of residents to pay service fees. Additionally, many areas, while they have some access, do not have adequate access or the speeds necessary to attract high tech economic development to their area. The lack of connectivity leaves these communities, and their citizens behind as we move further into the 21st century.
Because of these challenges, several communities will work together to address access by developing themselves, or through public private partnerships, their own community networks. No two systems are the same as each was designed to meet the needs of the community involved. Networks supporting educational institutions or smart cities have also been formed. These networks have allowed communities to take control of their future. It is these communities and networks that have formed Broadband Access Ohio with the understanding that other communities may be facing the same challenges and the time to join together to share information, provide education and speak with a collective voice.
The organization has over 20 inaugural members, all of whom will work to protect public entities that provide broadband access for their communities and serve as a resource to communities that are interested in providing publicly-owned broadband services to their residents. Broadband Access Ohio will serve as an indispensable resource for communities, school networks, non-profits, and other entities interested in promoting a connected Ohio.