No one can afford to wait for the Internet | News, Sports, Jobs


Nearly a year ago, we used this space to address our disappointment with the timeline set out in a feasibility study on bringing high-speed Internet to underserved areas of Mahoning, Trumbull, Ashtabula and possibly Columbiana.

At the time, one of the experts working on the study simply said, “Broadband takes time.”

This study commissioned by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments indicated that parts of our counties, including North Trumbull and South Mahoning, have no broadband coverage. The study found that 39,962 households in Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties lacked internet access. That’s 18% of the three counties versus 15% for the state of Ohio.

Additionally, several areas have slow coverage. According to an expert involved in the Eastgate study, sparsely populated areas experience lower broadband availability, and a lack of choice among broadband providers further impacts availability and affordability .

Undeniably, it is virtually impossible to conduct business or educate our young people without easy access to fast Internet and Wi-Fi service. Its vital role in helping many people survive the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed further underscores its importance.

Businesses hoping to relocate to an area will certainly be discouraged by such large swathes of properties where internet access is less than acceptable, or worse, non-existent.

And according to Jim Kinnick, executive director of Eastgate, it’s not just rural areas that desperately need improved internet access; many urban areas also remain underserved. Kinnick previously told our reporters that studies show Youngstown ranks second in broadband accessibility among communities with 5,000 or more residents in the state, and Warren ranks fifth in Ohio. .

Undoubtedly, the use of a new system would be in high demand, transforming our valley and preparing it for future economic growth and development.

This is the point we want to make following an announcement on high-speed Internet accessibility made last week at the White House. Under the plan presented by President Joe Biden – with the admirable presence of our Mayor of Youngstown, Jamael Tito Brown – $65 billion of the $1 trillion US Infrastructure Act signed last November is to be earmarked expanding access to affordable high-speed Internet.

The plan aims to help subsidize connectivity services in low-income households.

Good. Broadband internet access is critically important.

But let us not ignore or neglect how equally important it is to find ways to speed up the process of installing the necessary infrastructure in our region in order to provide broadband not only to low-income households. , but to all homes.

While much of our region lacks internet access or is underserved by slow connections, our government should strive to provide and improve service for all Ohioans.

We urge all of our elected leaders and their private sector counterparts to work together to find the most effective way to fund and install the infrastructure needed to bring the broadband needed in our region.

And we urge these organizations to do so quickly. We must do what we can on our side so as not to waste any more time.

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