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Broadband Inquiry Helps Neighborhood in Appalachia Ohio Get Connected
After breaking ground on the construction of their new home in 2008, Dave and Lori Nadler began researching Internet provider options for their area in Jackson County. Not only did the Nadlers join a new neighborhood, but they found they now shared a common problem with their neighbors and families living in Appalachia Ohio – a lack of available home broadband service.
Contacting two possible providers about extending service to the Nadler home resulted in some disappointing news. One company would not consider investing in the equipment needed to serve the Nadlers and a second service provider wanted thousands of dollars from the consumer to cover installation costs.
Lori Nadler works from home as a computer programmer, so trying to go without Internet was not an option for her. With broadband unavailable, the Nadler’s were forced to subscribe to satellite Internet, which they believed to be a better choice than installing an additional phone line for a dial-up connection.
Satellite Internet worked for a short time, but after running into some problems, the Nadler’s decided it was not an adequate, long-term solution for Lori’s professional use. They were two of the 124,000 adults in Appalachia who either do not have broadband service available to them or the service available is insufficient to meet their needs, according to Connect Ohio’s Technology Barriers and Adoption in Rural Appalachian Ohio report.
”Several months ago, my employer contracted (with a broadband provider) to provide services to our Ohio branch locations,” said Dave Nadler. “Knowing (the provider) was running fiber near our home, I contacted them to inquire about providing cable to our subdivision.”
The provider responded with an offer to expand to the home for a rather costly installation fee and a 3-year contract, which wasn’t an economical choice for the Nadler’s.
Dave found that he could complete a Broadband Inquiry through Connect Ohio, where he could provide his home address and specify the type of support he was looking for. Connect Ohio analyzes each inquiry individually, researching providers claiming to service the location and verifying with the inquirer. With the research, Connect Ohio is able to update service maps, as well as notify broadband providers of any gaps in service.
Nadler’s broadband inquiry revealed Time Warner as a provider in his area. Having previously checked with Time Warner, Dave knew that the company did not serve his home, but he wasn’t willing to give up.
Now, Dave was also looking for service for more than just his home. He had six neighbors also interested. He contacted a Time Warner sales representative through his employer’s relationship with the company and the representative was able to negotiate an affordable service plan for the entire neighborhood. The contract provided some flexibility, allowing for future renegotiation of Internet, cable, and phone service levels. The project is currently underway and the subdivision is expected to have broadband Internet service very soon.
Dave also happens to serve as a committee chair on Connect Ohio’s Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative (CABI) task force. Dave and his neighbors contribute to the 531,000 adults living in rural Appalachian Ohio who do not subscribe to home broadband service and face technology barriers of the region. The CABI task force meets monthly and intends to pull Appalachia Ohio to within state and national standards in broadband adoption within 24 months.