By COH Staff
On Tuesday, July 19, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein visited central Ohio to give an update on broadband expansion projects in rural communities nationally, as well as to discuss Consolidated Electric Cooperative’s progress on local fiber installation and broadband expansion in Delaware, Morrow, and parts of other surrounding counties. Consolidated Electric was awarded a Rural Utilities Service grant of more than $1 million and a Rural Utilities Service loan of about $1.4 million to aid their expansion project, which is about 60% completed, thus far, and expected to be 100% complete by the end of the year. The USDA’s support for telecommunications projects improving broadband service to rural residents and businesses is vital to economic development in these areas.
“Broadband was the first pillar of (Secretary of Agriculture) Tom Vilsack’s agenda,” said Adelstein during today’s presentation. “Like the rural electrification program of the 1930’s, this broadband project will result in economic development for many years to come.”
Connect Ohio recognizes broadband as a key component of rural development. The recent release of Connect Ohio’s 2011 Residential Technology Assessment and 2010 Business Technology Assessment illustrates the challenges and opportunities that exist in Ohio’s rural community development. Below are some key technology benchmarks from Connect Ohio’s recent assessment.
- More than 88,000 businesses in Ohio do not use broadband.
- Businesses without broadband have annual revenue of $200,000 less than businesses with broadband.
- Manufacturing and Professional and Financial Services sectors lead in broadband adoption in Ohio.
- Only 53% of businesses in the Healthcare sector use broadband (about 13,000 healthcare-related businesses).
Also in attendance at today’s event with Administrator Adelstein at Consolidated Electric’s Delaware office were USDA Rural Development Ohio office staff, including J. Anthony Logan, director, David Douglas, community program director, Mark Elam, RUS field accountant, Consolidated Electric Cooperative staff, including Jerry Lauer, President/CEO, and Doug Payauys, CIO, Bart Winegar, Connect Ohio technical outreach manager, and area county officials.
Additional Broadband and business data from Connect Ohio’s 2010 Business Technology Assessment can be viewed at https://ohio.connectednation.org/policy-research/
Learn more about Consolidated’s expansion project by visiting http://www.consolidatedelectric.coop/aboutus/news_pages/grant.asp.
Learn more about the USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service by visiting http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Utilities_LP.html.
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