STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County has 46 percent of its residents using broadband computer access at home, but there also is a 32 percent slice of the county population that says it does not use the Internet at all.
Those are among the results of the Connect Ohio report on technology
adoption across the state on a county-by-county level.
Connect Ohio has provided mapping and research to identify broadband opportunities for Ohio citizens since 2008.
The new county-level report follows a statewide technology adoption report released at Connect Ohio's second quarter Technology Association meeting in Columbus.
The data was gathered by Connect Ohio and its parent organization, Connected Nation, through a survey of Ohio adults. The survey included 1,201 Ohio residents and 102 Jefferson County residents for the county-specific survey.
Connect Ohio is a nonprofit public-private partnership working with telecommunications providers, business and community leaders, information technology companies and others to try to extend affordable high-speed Internet access to every Ohio household.
Of the 32 percent of Jefferson County residents who do not own a computer, 70 percent say they don't see a reason to own one and 28 percent say computers are too complicated.
The computer use and ownership numbers put Jefferson County below the statewide averages.
While 68 percent of county residents own a computer and access the Internet, the statewide averages are 80 percent ownership and 82 percent accessing the Internet.
In Harrison County, 71 percent access the Internet and 69 percent own a computer.
Connect Ohio has started a program called Every Citizen Online, funded through a $6.9 federal stimulus grant and $3 million in assistance and contributions from various entities in the state, to try to address those who say they don't see a need or that computers are too complex.
Spokeswoman Amanda Murphy said the Every Citizen Online program offers free basic computer and Internet training to any interested Ohio adult.
Jefferson County lags the state by 20 percent in home broadband access, at 46 percent, compared with 66 percent statewide. In Columbiana County, 60 percent of the residents have broadband access at home.
In Harrison County, the broadband subscription rate is 52 percent.
In 2008, 61 percent of county residents said they owned a computer, meaning the growth of computer ownership was 7 percent in three years. Statewide, computer ownership grew by 4 percent to 76 percent. Internet use grew by 4 percent in the county and 3 percent statewide during the past three years, the survey found. Columbiana County results show 81 percent of residents own a computer, up from 65 percent in 2008.
Broadband access grew by 8 percent since 2008 in Jefferson County and 11 percent statewide.
The survey found that 36 percent of the county's broadband users subscribed within the past two years, joining 23 percent who subscribed more than 7 years ago as the majority of broadband users.
Broadband users in Jefferson County pay an average of $44.95 a month for their access, up from $38.49 a month on average in 2008. The average price in Columbiana County is $44.53, up from $35.02 in 2008.
The state average is $43.41, up from $35.13 in 2008.
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