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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Finding the missing dots: An update on Ohio broadband policy

Since the production of our 2017 policy brief, Connecting the Dots of Ohio’s Broadband Policy, much has changed in the state and nation’s broadband landscape. The last few years saw a rapid transformation of broadband use throughout America with almost every aspect of life now wholly reliant on digital technology. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have increased their prevalence in our everyday lives, while other traditional entertainment services like cable and gaming transition to digital to capture a piece of the lucrative market. Meanwhile, telehealth and telework options have exploded, with the former now being a viable option for rural communities void of healthcare providers and the latter permeating almost every industry. These rapid developments were only exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, as the public health crisis sent shockwaves through our daily lives and accelerated our reliance on quality broadband service. The impact was acutely visible throughout education, as school districts and universities had to quickly pivot to remote learning. As the immediate concerns of the pandemic subside, remote schooling, telework and telehealth remain viable paths for decades to come. This accelerated digital revolution requires massive amounts of public funding to provide all Americans access to quality broadband services. Yet current funding still lags what is necessary to reach these goals. However, recent developments brought by the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 provide much needed money towards bridging the broadband gap and has given states latitude in how they utilize the funds, with Ohio focusing on grants for public-private partnerships. Facilitation of these funds has eased greatly because of the establishment.

Publication type: 
Policy brief
Date published: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2022