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Bridging the Divide in Rural Appalachia
With support from Intel and other partners, Connect Ohio aims to provide broadband access to the poorest areas of the state.
The nonprofit organization and its Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative (CABI) task force recently announced that it is partnering with Intel Corporation to help bridge the digital divide that exists in Ohio's Appalachian region. Linda Kenworthy, business development manager for Intel Americas, will serve as chair of the task force's technology sub-committee. The task force is comprised of leaders from public, private, and government organizations with an interest in increasing broadband availability and use to Appalachian Ohio. (A full list of CABI members can be viewed here.)
In addition to Ms. Kenworthy's expertise, Intel will provide financial assistance to support CABI's mission to pull Appalachian Ohio to within state and national standards in broadband adoption by 2014. In a recent report,Technology Barriers and Adoption in Rural Appalachian Ohio, Connect Ohio cites national statistics such as the gap between broadband access for the poorest Americans (less than 33%) and the richest (more than 90%), as well as the lack of access to any computer technology on the part of a significant percentage of rural households in the Appalachian region.
The task force plans to improve access by utilizing the successful efforts of Connect Ohio's last-mile technical assistance team and the organization's Every Citizen Online free basic computer and Internet training program.