FCC RDOF-assigned Census block groups in Ohio: American Community Survey income data, households with no broadband

(Click on chart to enlarge)

1. The chart below shows 2015-19 American Community Survey data on households with no home broadband access, for 26,178 Ohio Census block groups that were totally or partially included in the most recent FCC Rural Development Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.

2. The RDOF auction included only Census blocks which the FCC classified as lacking any consumer broadband access at 25/3 Mbps in 2019. Blocks where support was awarded by earlier FCC rural broadband programs, such as Connect America Fund II, were not included. So the RDOF blocks are a good representation of “unserved rural areas” of the state according to the most recent FCC data.

3. A Census block group is a cluster of Census blocks. The average block group includes 39 blocks, but this number varies considerably. ACS data on home broadband connections is available for block groups but not blocks, while the FCC determines eligibility for RDOF on the block level. This means that ACS data for a block group is not necessarily representative of the RDOF-eligible blocks within that block group.

To adjust for this possible disparity, the chart shows Ohio-wide aggregate ACS data for four increasing levels of “RDOF density”, i.e. the number of RDOF-eligible blocks per blockgroup:

  • all 26,178 block groups;
  • the 23,520 block groups with at least 10 RDOF blocks;
  • the 18,628 block groups with at least 25 RDOF blocks; and
  • the 10,245 block groups with at least 50 RDOF blocks.

It turns out that the ACS home broadband access percentages for these four levels of RDOF density are very similar — suggesting that the data for Ohio block groups that contain RDOF blocks is, in general, quite representative of those blocks.

4. For each of these sets of block groups. the chart shows the following ACS data for a) households with annual incomes below $35,000, and b) households with incomes of $50,000 or more:

  • The income group’s total number of households and percentage share of all households
  • The number and percentage of households in the income group without broadband subscriptions of any type (including mobile)
  • The income group’s percentage share of all households without broadband subscriptions.