Appalachian Foothills
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The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and The Ohio State University Office of the CIO, with major funding from the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC), the Governor’s Office of Appalachia (GOA) and the Ohio Community Computing Network (OCCN), are bringing broadband Internet connectivity to rural Ohio Appalachian communities from a satellite 23,000 miles above the Earth through the Connecting Rural Ohio (CRO) Wireless Neighborhood Project.

The project is part of a broader effort by various agencies and groups in the Central and Southeastern Ohio region to link instruction and learning, teachers and students, schools, homes and businesses via broadband Internet connectivity. OSC and OSU-CIO engineers are working in conjunction with community and state leaders to install satellite dishes, LAN antennas and learning centers in communities that are geographically remote and far removed from terrestrial broadband Internet connectivity. The connectivity is providing educational services to adult learners and job training opportunities to low-income residents in one of the most distressed regions in the country. This access helps to improve their quality of life, increase their standard of living and provide a valuable resource to police, fire, libraries and other community organizations.

Population density is not the most significant determinant in broadband penetration. The most important factors explaining the digital divide are income and poverty. Approximately one out of ten households with incomes less than $30,000 reported having high-speed Internet access versus six out of ten households with incomes less than $100,000. Urban areas are more than twice as likely to have broadband access as compared to their rural counter parts. More than 40 percent of U.S. zip codes have one or fewer DSL or cable modem providers reporting service.

Even in those areas with broadband access, the rate of use by low-income households is diminished due to the high cost of U.S. broadband prices. Price of broadband service, and not the lack of a home computer, is the key barrier to broadband adoption by low-income households. (Free Press, Consumers Union, Consumers Federation of America, August 2006)

Between 2000 and 2005 the United States dropped from fourth to twelfth place in broadband penetration among the thirty member nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The U.S. has the fourth highest level of students who have never used a computer among the OECD nations – exceeded only by Turkey, Mexico and Slovakia.


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Ohio Supercomputer Center
Connecting Rural Ohio with Internet Technology
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