VAN WERT – Broadband Internet access in Ohio continues to increase as the task of bringing the Internet to anyone who desires a connection continues. New research released earlier this month by Connect Ohio shows 86.73% of Ohio households have access to fixed broadband at 25 Mbps download speed across the state. That marks a 25 percentage-point increase compared to two and a half years ago. The state’s broadband availability for a slower connect speed is 98.79 percent, not including mobile wireless service.

In Van Wert County, that percentage steps up to 99.96 percent of the county’s 11,439 households. In addition, the next highest download speed (up to 3 Mbps) sees little change in availability. Approximately 99.19 percent of Van Wert County households have broadband availability at that speed.

Just five years ago, Van Wert County was lagging behind in broadband availability and even in Internet usage. At that time, only 72 percent of the county households even had a computer in the house, compared to 76 percent statewide. Also in 2009, just 64 percent of the households had home Internet, and only 47 percent had a broadband connection. In fact, 59 percent, or three out of five, respondents said they either did not need broadband access or did not understand the benefits. Just as importantly, 20 percent said broadband was not available to them at their home.

“Much progress has been made to increase broadband accessibility across Ohio. I commend all of the broadband stakeholders who continue to work together to address this issue,” said Senator Joe Uecker, chairman of the Ohio broadband and technology caucus. “However, accessibility issues still exist, particularly in Appalachia; stakeholders must continue to focus their efforts on this area to promote economic development and educational opportunities in the region.”

“A 25 percentage point increase in 25 Mbps speeds is evidence of Ohio’s providers investing in increased capacity,” said Stu Johnson, executive director of Connect Ohio. “However it also demonstrates that the investment is concentrated in enhancing existing infrastructure as the percentage of Ohioans with less than 768 Kbps availability remains unchanged.”

The new broadband availability research shows that high-speed (at least 50 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload) broadband availability has increased 25 percentage points since October of 2011. That percentage has increaced by almost three percentage points just since October 2013.

This is the ninth comprehensive broadband availability data release from Connect Ohio through the State Broadband Initiative (SBI). Connect Ohio is a subsidiary of Connected Nation, which does mapping research and policy in 10 states comprising over 36% of the nation’s landmass.