Factsheet: Ohio’s worst-connected midsized and large communities

17th worst-connected: Greenville (Darke County), where the most recent American Community Survey says 39% of the 5,800 households lacked wireline broadband connections..

The U.S. Census’ “2015-2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates”, released in December 2020, lists 144 incorporated cities and “Census designated places” (CDPs) in Ohio with more than 5,000 households. They range in size from Ravenna, Dover and Wilmington, each with about 5,100 households, to the city of Columbus with more than 377,000. Altogether, almost 2.5 million of Ohio’s 4.7 million households live in these midsize-to-large communities.

ACS Table B28002, “Presence and types of Internet subscriptions in household”, provides an estimate of the total households in each place during the survey period, as well as the number of those households that had subscriptions for various categories of Internet service. One of those categories is “Broadband such as cable, fiber optic or DSL”. This category, which is distinct from wireless Internet (mobile or fixed), satellite or dial-up modem services, is the best indicator of how many households in the community have — and don’t have — a mainstream broadband Internet connection at any speed. It is often called “wired” or “wireline” broadband.

Connect Your Community has taken the household totals and wireline broadband subscription totals for all 150 Ohio Census places with 5,000 or more households, and done the simple arithmetic to determine the number and percentage of households in each community that did not have wireline broadband connections, according to the ACS. We’ve then ranked all 150 communities by their “unconnected” percentages, highest to lowest.

The full ranked list of all 150 communities can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF file here.

From that list, here are Ohio’s fifty worst-connected midsized and large cities, ranked by the percentage of households with no cable, fiber optic or DSL broadband service at any speed. These cities are scattered throughout the state, within major metropolitan areas as well as outside them. It’s important to note that they all have cable, DSL and/or fiber broadband services physically available in virtually all of their residential areas, usually from more than one provider.

Yet the ACS found that between a third and two-thirds of their households lacked any kind of wireline broadband connection.