Additionally, the Biden administration recently struck a deal with 20 internet service providers to offer access to new qualified subscribers for $30 per month. When the ACP discount is applied to service from one of these participating providers, the result is Internet service at no cost to the customer.
The companies involved are Allo Communications, AltaFiber and Hawaiian Telecom, Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Fios (owned by Verizon), Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications), Starry, Vermont Telephone Co., Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, cable and television.
Cox Communications is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, owner of Cox First Media newspapers.
Figures on need
The InnovationOhio Education Fund released a report indicating that 1.2 million homes in Ohio do not have a high-speed Internet connection, including more than 62,400 in Montgomery County. Most of these households are low-income, the group said.
According to InnovationOhio policy director Terra Goodnight, these numbers come from adding together the number of households without an internet plan and those with only a cellular data plan from 2019 U.S. Census estimates.
Estimates for 2020 are now available and are slightly lower, but still show large numbers of people without internet access:
· 29,342 households in Butler County, or 20.8% of the population.
14,673 in Clark County, or 26.8%
6,740 in Darke County, or 31.8%
12,802 in Greene County, or 19.4%
9,269 in Miami County, or 22.5%
59,555 in Montgomery County, or 26.3%
4,964 in Preble County, or 30.5%
13,057 in Warren County, or 15.6%
Nearly 40% of U.S. households are eligible for the ACP reduction, the report says. More than 600,000 Ohio households have already signed up for the ACP rebate, but 1.4 million households may still be eligible, according to InnovationOhio.
The definition of broadband Internet service may include wired telephone, cable, or fiber optic; a satellite receiver; or a cellular smartphone, says Ireport.
“High” Internet speed is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as downloading at least 25 megabits per second, but a common public definition is four times that speed, according to the report.
Usually, home broadband service can cost $100 a month or more, according to InnovationOhio.
About 85% of Ohio homes have broadband service, but nearly 700,000 still don’t have a broadband connection, according to the InnovationOhio report.
According to state figures, however, the number of Ohio households without broadband access is about 300,000.
Counting households where smartphones are the only source of broadband internet, the total without broadband home service is 1.2 million Ohio households, according to the report. More than half of them are in 10 urbanized counties, including Butler and Montgomery, according to the report.
Black and Hispanic or Latino residents of Ohio are nearly twice as likely to lack access to home broadband as their white and Asian counterparts, the report found, based on federal statistics. According to the report, only two-thirds of low-income households have a broadband connection, compared to 95% of families with the highest incomes.
In March, the state announced $232 million was available through BroadbandOhio grants to bring high-speed Internet to nearly 100,000 homes. It’s up to the companies to make the service available, but not to offer a discount to customers.
“Although it does not subsidize the end user, each of the Residential Broadband Expansion Grant recipients participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides eligible individuals with a $30 discount on their Internet bill,” said said Todd Walker, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Development, of which BroadbandOhio is a part.
The state subsidy program was created by House Bill 2, which incentivizes internet service providers to extend infrastructure to underserved areas. The grants will fill the “broadband funding gap,” the difference between the actual cost of building internet infrastructure to serve individual homes and the maximum cost the company considers “profitable” to develop that service.
“Grants focused on those that had the most underserved and hardest hit areas, and those that were economically struggling,” Walker said. “In each of the areas, through the grant program, the state will fund a provider to provide access to the unserved and underserved.”
Providing high-speed Internet access to all Ohioans is a priority of the DeWine-Husted administration, he said. Some areas could get higher-speed service in less than a year, but the average construction time is two years, according to a state news release.
To be eligible for state subsidies, projects must provide speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to homes that currently lack that level of service.
However, the majority of providers that receive subsidies offer download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps, according to Walker.
Among the first grant announcements is $2.1 million for Spectrum to provide fiber optic service to 1,165 homes in Clark County, with speeds of up to 1 Gigabit download and 500 Megabit download. download.
A BroadbandOhio map shows new broadband projects in at least small parts of every county in the region except Miami and Montgomery. Even so, Montgomery and the seven contiguous counties will still have areas that lack broadband access, although much of Butler, Warren and Montgomery already have it, according to the map.
“These projects will provide more than 43,000 Ohio homes with affordable high-speed Internet access,” a state press release said. “As part of the grant process, multiple internet service providers have also committed to independently fund an additional 71 broadband expansion projects serving approximately 52,000 homes and impacting areas in an additional 31 counties.”
Butler, Darke, Greene, Montgomery, Preble and Warren are all counties “impacted” by these 71 additional commitments.
Find services and grants in your area
To find out where service providers plan to establish new broadband connections, go to broadband.ohio.gov.