Appalachian Ohio Broadband Availability
For decades, rural broadband expansion has been limited by inaccurate FCC coverage maps that show service where in fact there is none. Those FCC maps were based solely on unverified statements from internet providers that exaggerated availability. The FCC has promised to develop better maps, but it is unclear when or if those maps will be released.
Connecting Appalachia’s broadband maps – available now – are based on millions of real-world, consumer-initiated speed tests from half-a-million unique locations in the state of Ohio. This data comes from Ookla®, one of the largest independent speed testing companies in the world. Ookla® trademarks are used under license and with permission.
Broadband is essential to economic growth. Bringing high-speed internet to rural America will create 530,000 jobs and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $60 billion. In our post-COVID economy, broadband is as important as water, electricity, and roads.
FACT vs. FICTION
The FCC believes that only 190,000 households in the entire state of Ohio do not have broadband. This claim is based solely on unverified Form 477 reports from internet providers.
Statewide, there are over 700,000 households below the FCC minimum of 25/3 Mbps. In Appalachian Ohio, 75% of our region – over 300,000 households – access the internet at less than 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up. These facts are based on millions of speed tests run by ordinary people.
The image on the left shows the FCC form 477 data, this is the data that is being used to determine the level of funding necessary to address the digital divide. The image on the right illustrates a truer picture of the region, based on independent consumer tests.
THE METHOD BEHIND OUR MAPS
Our maps are based on a unique combination of multiple data sources, including Ookla Speedtest Intelligence® licensed by InnovateOhio for the months of February 2020 through August 2021, carrier filings of available speeds (FCC Form 477), carrier reports of actual broadband deployments to USAC (HUBB), RDOF Phase 1 eligibility, and population density.
Using the Ookla® results we rated each location based on the average of up/down speeds for all tests at that location. We then graded census blocks based on the median up/down speed of all locations within each block. Block-by-block ratings were further refined based on RDOF eligibility, past HUBB deployments, and Form 477 data. For blocks with no test results, extrapolated ratings were assigned via comparative analysis of population density, Form 477 coverage, HUBB data, and RDOF Phase 1 awards. Blocks that could not be rated are shown in gray on our maps.
Ookla® trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission. To protect consumer privacy, location precision is limited to 100 meters by 100 meters. As a result, a single location on our map may include multiple households and many individual tests.
This project was funded in part by the I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio through the Buckeye Hills Foundation.
Consumer speed test data cited in our maps was licensed on behalf of the state by InnovateOhio.