Worlds Apart: How One Woman Went From Having High-Speed Internet Access to Living a Rural Nightmare

Bowling Green KY. (August 7, 2019) – Imagine being able to access high-speed internet for most of your life, then it is all taken after one move. This is the reality for Janice Forler. Access is no longer available to her due to poor connection and the lack of broadband (high-speed internet) infrastructure in rural Ohio.

Before moving to Meigs County, Ohio, Forler resided in Colorado. She was a teacher at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where she and her students were always connected to the internet at school and at home.

“While teaching in Colorado, I never had a connection issue,” said Forler. “It was so great to see my students be able to work to their full potential online. I thought this was how it was at every school, but boy was I wrong.”

Upon moving to Ohio, everything changed. Forler started a new job as an English teacher at Meigs High School and noticed the slow internet speeds. Her

Meigs High School in Pomeroy, Ohio.

students were assigned long research papers but would have to go to the library to finish them because they didn’t have the access needed to do their assignments at home.

“I felt so bad for my students,” said Forler. “After a long day at school, they would have to head to the library to get their homework done, instead of being able to do it at their own home.”

This poor internet connection also affects Janice outside of school. Janice and her husband like to keep up on the latest news of the day and spend a lot of time online paying bills, communicating with loved ones and much more.

“With internet speeds of .05Mbps, we are unable to conduct effective research. We cannot download PDFs, large files, and software we need,” said Forler. “And don’t even think about videos — we have never been able to access those.”

The Cause

So who is responsible for her slow connection? The only provider in her area is Windstream, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in late February 2019.

“What frustrated me about Windstream is they are able to provide fast internet speeds for my neighbors, but on my side of the street it is significantly slower with no explanation.”

Her frustrations have reached an all-time high.

“I have seen reports about funding, but nothing is ever done in my area. I have been told it will be done in 2017 and 2018, but yet here I am in 2019 and still have not seen changes,” she said. “I have been living here for 20 years and have seen no difference. The money from the government is there, but I feel like I know I will still be ignored.”

Forler finally decided to take matters into her own hands. This is when she found Connected Nation and reached out for help. She knew her voice and message needed to be heard.

How Connected Nation Ohio Can Help

Connected Nation has a subsidiary program called Connected Nation Ohio to help residents like Janice get the access they need. Connected Nation Ohio works to blanket the state with broadband internet access and dramatically improve the use of related technology.

“Through our work, we have seen firsthand the challenges residents of rural Ohio face who lack broadband access. By leveraging federal funding opportunities, understanding the state’s commitment to broadband, and collecting public feedback on unserved areas, Connected Nation Ohio is helping to bridge the Digital Divide, one community at a time,” said Lindsay Conrad, Connected Nation Director of Public Policy.

Programs like Connected Nation Ohio bring more than just access, use, and adoption of broadband, but also hope that the fight to bring broadband to all rural areas is ongoing.

If you are in a similar situation, feel free to tell us your story here and we will make sure to reach out.

About the Author: Lily McCoy is the Communications Social Media Specialist for Connected Nation. Lily provides support to the Communications Department through social media outreach and writing. She also adds a source of creativity to the team with a background in personal relations and marketing. Lily is a recent graduate from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in corporate and organizational communications.

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