We think broadband is a core utility that we must be able to provide to the city. This will help us in attracting new businesses and incentivize people to move here now that so many people can work remotely.
Realtors in Coshocton County tell us that the number one question from potential home buyers is broadband speed and availability. Previously, the most common questions were quality of schools and parks. If a house is “Dark” (no broadband), buyers lose interest and look elsewhere for a home that has adequate internet access.
Lack of broadband not only inhibits growth in our county but also creates a digital divide for our residents and businesses. The pandemic has emphasized the lack of adequate broadband in Coshocton County for working at home and online learning for our school students. 40% of students in two of our major school districts do not have access to broadband.
We receive calls all the time in our office about the lack of broadband in Coshocton County. In today’s world broadband is considered a utility like water, electric, and gas. People are looking to locate in rural areas because of ample supply of water and a low tax base, but they need broadband to consider making Appalachia their home.
The pandemic lockdowns revealed an alarming lack of Internet access for students and adults in New Philadelphia. That added to the difficulties they had in completing homework and receiving vital public health information.
The pandemic-related need for students to take classes from home and employees to work remotely exposed the broadband disparity in Guernsey County and rural America, in general. A level playing field starts with broadband.