U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown visited Horizon Telcom, Tuesday.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown was at Chillicothe's Horizon Telcom, Tuesday, discussing broadband extension in Ohio. The Democratic senator has backed funding for rural broadband projects such as the Ohio Middle Mile Consortium (OMMC), which hopes to open up broadband to 34 counties in Appalachia.
"We need to reach the places like Bourneville, places like Bainbridge, and places that are a little more remote to make sure that a business doesn't say, 'Well, I'm not going to locate in southern Ohio because we don't have broadband,' . . . or a student not far from here has to go to his grandmother's house three nights a week to do homework because he doesn't have broadband in his parents' house," he said.
Senator Brown stated that the two main concerns of rural Ohio -- a need for qualified workers and a need for broadband services -- are interconnected.
"We got to connect job skills with what businesses are looking for with what career centers and schools and community colleges and branch campuses are teaching," he said, " . . . and I was told today that the graduation rate is less in some communities without broadband than those that have it, and I want that opportunity in southern Ohio just like everywhere else."
Horizon's Connecting Appalachia project to create a fiber optic broadband infrastructure network is through the OMMC. Horizon began construction in May of 2011.
Officials said it's 60% complete and will be finished by July 2013.
Currently, more than 20 counties in southern Ohio are operating on the new fiber optic network, according to Horizon.