Lack of Cell Access Key Issue for Southeast Ohio

Posted

Ohio Broadband Map

Edit: Purva 8/29

On our trips around the nearby counties close to Athens we couldn’t help but experience the very issues we were researching in Southeast Ohio. As we traveled through rural routes on our way to Amesville, McConnelsville, Chesterhill, Pomeroy and Hocking Hills, we encountered dead zones and delayed messages. We used GPS rather than our cell phone maps to navigate the region. We set appointments in advance as we couldn’t make calls from some areas. Additionally, we struggled to communicate with each other as we split up to meet with residents and take pictures of the communities we are featuring in our work.

We also spoke to residents about the challenges of access. Librarians shared how they keep the WiFi on after hours so that local residents can pull up in the parking lot after hours for schoolchildren to do homework.

“Yes, internet in Amesville is sporadic, but you will usually be able to get a signal in the parking lot next to the post office, as the Athens library has installed wireless service in the Village Production building," said Dan Vorisek, director of the Entrepreneurial Communities work of Rural Action, a nonprofit organization and economic driver for the region.

"Wireless access is a national issue that requires a national (or at least a state level) response....our little towns are willing to work but to address it but are limited in knowing how to. "

We will be building a regional portal here on ZipIt.News that will specifically draw together those working to improve access to digital technologies here in Southeast Ohio. So please provide links to reports, content, people, articles and other information about who is already working on the issues in the region and state.

What other WiFi spots can you identify in the region? Help us create a map of regional resources.

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