Guernsey Co. Broadband Expansion a Sign of What's to Come
By David Koren
Over the past two years, millions of Ohioans with broadband access were able to connect to the world around them like never before, but for those without access, the opportunity gap only widened. In late February, Spectrum helped Guernsey County take a big step forward in closing that gap by completing a fiber-optic network extension project, enabling nearly 950 previously unserved homes and small businesses to get fast and reliable internet service. In the coming months, the company will extend its fiber network to an additional 1,400 locations throughout the county, taking more strides to help ensure all Ohioans have access to broadband.
This drive to reach unserved areas and deliver quality service is nothing new for members of OCTA – Ohio’s Broadband and Cable Association (OCTA). Throughout the state, broadband cable operators serve roughly three million households, and over the past three years, OCTA members have invested nearly $3 billion in private capital to expand service territories, and upgrade infrastructure and technology. From large companies with multi-state service territories to family-owned operations, Ohio’s broadband cable providers play a key role in getting and keeping us connected.
Although access to quality broadband in Ohio continues to improve, many remain without service. To move the needle, private providers and government are working together, and in Guernsey County, these expansion projects are made possible, in part, through support from the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Beyond Guernsey County, Spectrum’s RDOF-supported projects will extend its fiber network to more than 100,000 unserved homes and small businesses across Ohio, with more than 70 percent of those located throughout Appalachia.
All in, at least $450 million in private capital will be invested by Spectrum alone to connect these unserved Ohioans, and an additional $100 million in RDOF funding will support the expansion. This investment will deliver the best, most reliable and most secure network money can buy. That means taxpayers can rest easy knowing they are investing in quality, future-ready technology and infrastructure to help thousands of Ohioans go from having no broadband service to having access to a fiber network capable of powering their broadband needs today and for years to come.
With additional grant programs launching at the federal, state and local levels, our broadband cable providers are committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, while helping to get all Ohioans access to quality service. The RDOF-supported expansion in Guernsey County is just the beginning of much more progress to come, and thanks to robust investments by OCTA members, Ohio’s connected future is bright.
# # #
David Koren is Executive Director of OCTA – Ohio’s Broadband and Cable Association, which represents the state’s broadband cable industry operators, programmers, and suppliers. Through its member companies, the OCTA serves the vast majority of the roughly 3 million cable households in the state, providing broadband, video and telephone service, including wireless. Ohio’s broadband cable industry employs more than 9,100 workers, has a $13.8 billion impact on Ohio’s economy, and has invested nearly $3 billion in technology and equipment upgrades in Ohio over the past three years.