Letter to the Editor:Broadband will promote economic development for city, region

Athens News, February 21, 2022

To the editor:

The City of Athens is excited to be a member of the newly launched Broadband Access Ohio coalition. As Southeast Ohio grows, our broadband services need to grow with it and this organization focuses on connecting all Ohioans to high-speed, affordable internet access.

Athens City is lucky to be serviced by several internet providers, but as many of you know, once you get out of the city, service is significantly more spotty. Broadband Access Ohio believes that in 2022, it shouldn’t matter where in Ohio you live, you should have access to high-quality, high-speed broadband. Furthermore, inside the city we are committed to even faster broadband service with more customer options to improve competitiveness for our businesses and quality of life for our residents.

Our city owns a conduit network, which will soon contain fiber to connect all the city buildings and facilities. There will be space for expansion and more collaborations with the telecommunications industry. We’re very encouraged by these opportunities for public-private partnerships to best serve our community.

High-speed broadband networks lead to business development and fuel innovation and economic growth. There are definitely some exciting economic opportunities happening in our area: The Baileys Trail System opened as a world-class mountain bike trail network, expansion in Ohio University research and growth in their Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and of course the giant Intel facility coming to Licking County, which we hope to provide workers and supporting businesses, as we aren’t too far away.

Athens is located in the most beautiful part of Ohio but is only an hour and 15 minutes from Columbus, and above all is a GREAT place to live and raise a family. With increased broadband access, we are excited to capitalize on all of our great assets.

Andrew B. Stone, P.E.

Athens City Service-Safety Director