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Recent News // A Technology Action Plan to Connect Youngstown and Mahoning County’s Most Vulnerable

Thursday, August 03, 2017

A majority of households—97 percent—in Youngstown and Mahoning County have broadband available to them, but only 68 percent are able to access it, and there are several key demographics getting left on the wrong side of the digital divide. Those groups include families or individuals earning less than $35,000, adults between the ages of 18 and 34, households with school-age children, and, in particular, those living in Youngstown.

Connected Nation (CN), through its Connected Community Engagement Program (Connectedsm), and in partnership with local leaders, formed the Youngstown and Mahoning County Broadband Team earlier this year. Over the last few months they have been surveying residents and businesses, schools and libraries, and other key stakeholders as well as connecting with area Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The data gathered has been used to come up with a community-specific Technology Action Plan (TAP) to identify gaps in coverage and the key demographics of people who are not being connected.

“Each of those groups are struggling with getting access to broadband internet, and when they are able to get it, they need help with how to leverage it for their families,” said Stu Johnson, Executive Director of Connect Ohio, a subsidiary of Connected Nation. “It’s so important to bring more people into a digital world. Consider just the demo that shows households with school-age children that are struggling to have access—those children are unable to get online to do research, complete homework assignments, or take part in other educational opportunities. I don’t want any child in Ohio, or America for that matter, left out of the opportunities that other students have.”

Connected Nation made 9 recommendations (listed on page 53 in the report) to improve internet access to Youngstown and Mahoning County residents, businesses, schools, libraries, and other institutions. But, the most significant conclusion was that more needed to be done to provide for digital equity among all groups. For that reason, the local community team identified the following three recommendations as priorities for the area:

1.    Develop a community-based technology awareness plan

2.    Promote low-cost broadband service offerings for vulnerable populations

3.    Facilitate digital literacy training in partnership with communication organizations for vulnerable populations

“We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” Johnson said. “To not have access means that children, families, small business owners, farmers, and others are being left out of opportunities to improve their lives and livelihoods. All of us at Connected Nation believe that to fix that problem we must first identify the gaps and understand the landscape of a community. We then look for ways to change that landscape and bring access to more people so they have the educational, economic, and social opportunities the digital world provides.”

Click here to read Youngstown and Mahoning County’s entire Technology Action Plan, which includes further data on the broadband landscape of the county.

Jessica Denson, Communications Manager
[email protected]
(502) 341-2024 


Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The Connected Community Engagement Program works with local communities to identify the challenges and solutions to broadband expansion.

We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. For more information, please visit: or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.