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Do you live in an internet desert? The FCC wants to know

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Internet router

A coalition of community and business leaders are calling on Ohioans with little to no access to high-speed internet to tell the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC has posted an interactive map online that lists broadband details for residential addresses around the country.

Advocates with Broadband Access Ohio — a coalition of public entities and public-private partnerships that advocates for expanded high-speed internet — are urging people to look at the map and tell the FCC if they live in an area with connectivity issues.

The information included with the map will be used to help the FCC determine which areas are in need of federal funding. That money, through various federal programs, will help expand access to broadband.

“It's critical for Ohio to establish what the true connectivity picture is in Ohio,” said Geoff Andrews, CEO of The Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network.

Andrews said the upcoming round of resources and funding can be crucial for Ohio’s future as the state looks to expand the ability for people to “participate in the 21st century economy.”

“Anything that relies on technology, but without the connectivity, they just can't do that,” said Andrews. “So it's really important that we get this map right so that Ohio, first of all, gets as much federal funding as possible.”

Andrews noted the issues schools and students struggled with during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas that had little to no internet access. He referenced the districts that had to set up internet hot spots in parking lots in order for students to participate in remote learning.

The FCC map can be found here.

Ohioans have until Jan. 13 to report a lack of access to broadband.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.