The state began studying the use and demand for broadband internet services in 2000. At the time, 43% of households used the internet and 37% thought the lack of internet service was a problem. A 2001 map showed 63% of residents lived in areas where at least one internet provider offered a broadband service (defined at 200 kbps and above at the time). The opinion then was that providers of DSL and cable services had some of the country's most aggressive deployment schedules.
The BroadbandOhio proposal sought to bring a high speed service to all 88 counties. In 2004, the Rural Ohio Technology Infrastructure Group announced an initiative for improved services to remote communities. The Connecting Rural Ohio Wireless Neighborhood initiative in 2007 aimed to deploy wireless internet access to distressed Appalachian counties. The Ohio Broadband Council was established in 2008, with funding of $2.9 million for 2009 and $3.9 million for 2010-11, to expand access to a broadband service. July 2009 saw the Southern Ohio Healthcare Network award an $18 million FCC-funded contract to construct a fiber optic cable network across thirteen counties in southern Ohio.
Despite all these efforts, Ohio was in 35th position in the 2009 Speed Matters survey with an average download speed of 4.4 mbps, little improved from 2008. Less than 60% of households had internet in 2007 and almost 10% still had dial-up from their ISP.
The Ohio Office of Internet Technology was awarded $1.8 million by the NTIA in December 2009 for broadband mapping and planning. The work will be undertaken by Connect Ohio, which was established in 2008 to work with internet providers to identify and fill gaps in the infrastructure.
Recent developments include the Consolidated Electric Cooperative receiving $2.4 million of federal funding to construct a 166-mile network in north central Ohio. Verizon Wireless also increased its spend on the Ohio network to $240 million in 2009. Ohio has extensive wireless coverage, with wifi hotspots covering much of the state.
Ohio has a well-developed transport system and much cargo and business traffic passes through its borders. Trade, transport and utilities provide the main employment and it is the country's largest producer of plastics, rubber, fabricated metals, electrical equipment and appliances.
Summers are generally hot and humid with winters ranging from cool to cold. Columbus is the state capital and the largest city, followed by Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.
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Cities in Ohio likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Canton, Youngstown, Springfield and Mansfield. Locations in OH with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.