Connect Ohio, a subsidiary of Connected Nation, just released its latest findings on broadband trends and their impact on the Buckeye State. The study finds that while more Ohioans have computers, many adults still lack the digital skills needed to be competitive.
“Developing the digital workforce skills that employers require can be essential to finding a job and growing a career,” said Stu Johnson, Executive Director of Connect Ohio (pictured right). “Simply increasing broadband access is not enough. We must also provide training solutions to help develop Ohio’s workforce for today’s online jobs. Our Digital Works program is one way Connected Nation is filling this gap—by providing digital literacy and job training as well as job placement assistance and mentorship.”
Since its inception in 2008, Connect Ohio has tracked broadband trends and the impact on Ohioans to identify ways to more effectively and efficiently improve broadband access, adoption, and use for all families, businesses, schools, farmers, and others in the state. Part of this effort includes conducting residential surveys to measure home broadband adoption, learn how Ohio residents use their services, and determine the barriers that prevent residents from subscribing.
“We use those findings to inform policymakers and Internet Service Providers about areas where improvement is still needed and opportunities to extend access to more Ohioans,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to help close the digital divide and make home broadband service a reality for all Ohioans because we believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. Being left out of a digital world means Ohio families are being left out of opportunities to improve their lives through better education, healthcare, jobs, and so much more.”
The survey finds that although Ohio households are paying more for broadband than they did in the past, they are getting significantly faster service for their money. In fact, Ohioans on average now pay slightly more than one-half (55%) of what they would have paid for comparable download speeds in 2014.
The potential economic impact of a more connected state cannot be overstated. Ohio internet users reported spending approximately $3.2 billion per year on online purchases from local stores and another $6.4 trillion online at non-local stores.
According to a study released earlier this year by The Ohio State University’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, more than one million Ohioans still do not have adequate access, and, if they did, it would mean as much as a two billion dollar impact, conservatively, for Ohio’s families and businesses.
The study points to the impact Connect Ohio has had on ensuring that all Ohioans have access to the opportunities enabled by high-speed broadband connectivity, including better healthcare, educational opportunities, workforce development, and more.
“Connect Ohio has established itself as a vital resource by collecting Ohio’s broadband data, analyzing it, and making it accessible to state policymakers,” said Mark Rembert, a doctoral student and graduate research associate who worked on the study. “Connect Ohio is also helping local governments that oftentimes do not think of broadband as being part of comprehensive planning. Further, Connect Ohio is a neutral third party—outside of the Internet Service Providers, government officials, and even residents—which enables the organization to better coordinate various cross-sector stakeholders involved in broadband.”
Related Llinks: Read the full report from The Ohio State University entitled“Connecting the Dots of Ohio’s Broadband Policy”
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