The U.S. Census released its 2017 American Community Survey yesterday. Here are some of the things the new ACS reveals about the state of home Internet access for Cleveland residents in 2017:
Only 55% of Cleveland households had Internet connections via wireline broadband — i.e. cable modem, home fiber, or some form of DSL. In contrast, about 74% of Cuyahoga County residents outside Cleveland had wireline broadband connections.
Even when mobile and satellite accounts are included, just 70% of all Cleveland households had any kind of home broadband service last year. Three of every ten Cleveland homes remained disconnected.
Cleveland’s rates of wireline broadband connection and total home broadband connection made us 2017’s fourth worst-connected U.S. city of 100,000 or more households…. behind only Detroit and Miami, and essentially still tied for third place with Greensboro (for wireline connections) and Memphis (for all broadband connections).
In our last post we reviewed Richard Cordray’s broadband positions, outlined as part of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s infrastructure bond proposal. Recognizing that Ohio’s digital divide affects low income city residents as well as unserved rural communities, Cordray’s plan promises to support broadband initiatives by local governments; encourage commercial ISPs to use available Federal dollars to expand rural access; restore state funding for local workforce and library digital skills training programs; and create an “Office of Connectivity” to coordinate Ohio’s broadband policy.
Six days ago, Cordray’s Republican rival Michael DeWine answered with his own broadband position, included in the DeWine/Husted “Ohio Prosperity Plan”.
Here’s the DeWine plan’s broadband language in its entirety:
Expand broadband infrastructure across Ohio to make Ohio a frontrunner in mobile edge technologies. Our state cannot be tech-friendly when some people and communities don’t have access to the digital highway that allows them to participate and grow. Understanding the cost involved, the DeWine-Husted administration will work closely with the private sector to expand our broadband infrastructure.
“Mobile edge technologies” is one of AT&T’s promised “next big things” associated with 5G; see here and here. This phrase is probably DeWine’s way of promising strong state government support for AT&T’s 5G plans in Ohio, whatever they turn out to be. (Hint: Not rural broadband.) Read more
The Democratic candidate for Ohio Governor, Richard Cordray, released his long-awaited Infrastructure Plan last week, with a commitment to raise billions of dollars in new bond funding (but not taxes) for a variety of infrastructure investments.
It includes a section called “Expanding Access to Broadband”, reprinted here in its entirety. That section hasn’t gotten much attention from the media. It deserves more.
Of course Cordray’s plan starts with a focus on increasing fast Internet access for Ohio’s unserved rural communities: “One-third of Ohio’s rural households lack access to modern digital tools because of where they live, compounding inequities in school funding and other public services.” But it goes on to add: “Low-income residents in Ohio’s largest cities also face obstacles. Across the state, one million Ohioans have access to only one internet provider, leaving them at the mercy of broadband companies that can charge higher prices and provide unreliable service for too many people.” Read more