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Internet speed test seeking 350 more participants

Ongoing study nears goal of collecting service data

Of the minimum 2,837 households required to disprove federal internet coverage maps of Washington County, the participation of approximately 350 more households is still needed in 10 specific townships this week.

The ongoing internet speed test study is a grassroots effort launched by the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative, in partnership with GEO Partners LLC, a geospatial engineering firm, to collect real service data and then:

1. Refute federal claims of internet coverage (this allows opportunities for grant funding).

2. Design immediate, mid- and long-term plans for internet coverage with full cost analyses for wireless, hybrid and fiber-wired internet service to all homes in Washington County.

On Tuesday, Glenn Fishbine, of GEO Partners LLC, noted that the success this month within the 12 townships that have reached statistical validation, now allows him to design for short-term solutions.

“The no-brainer one from my point of view is Adams (Township),” said Fishbine, noting high participation of residents proved a lack of coverage outside of Lowell Village limits. “I know exactly how to design for that right now.”

Within minutes of analyzing the participation and proof of internet speeds in Adams Township, Fishbine designed coverage of the entire township through four wireless towers for an estimated $250,000 cost.

“That’s with a minimum speed of 25 megabits per second,” he said. “But if you’re within a mile of the tower you could be reaching 100 Mbps. The terrain just isn’t that horrible. So that’s a quick solution that if you wanted an instant network using C.A.R.E.S. dollars by December I’d go for that one in a heartbeat.”

With the same data, he could also show that fully connected fiber to all of the homes in Adams Township would cost $4 million.

“So with the data I have right now I can do that type of cost (analysis),” he said.

But to design and cost-analyze for the county as a whole and offer the cooperative, local governments and private citizens with the tools to apply for additional grant dollars and strategically partner with existing internet service providers, a minimum additional participation of the following 10 townships is still needed.

BY THE NUMBERS

¯ Aurelius Township (including Macksburg Corporation) still needs 57 households to participate.

¯ Belpre Township, which only has seen two additional households participate in the past week, still needs 42.

¯ Dunham Township needs a minimum of 44 more households.

¯ Fairfield Township needs a minimum of 43 more households.

¯ Grandview Township is close, needing only 12 more households.

¯ Independence Township needs 35.

¯ Lawrence Township only needs two more households.

¯ Liberty Township still needs 41.

¯ Ludlow Township still needs a minimum of 39.

¯ Palmer Township likewise needs a minimum of 37 more.

PARTICIPATE

Residents can help to refute internet service providers’ reporting to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in what those providers say they supply by:

1. Taking the internet speed test on their home computer at www.seobc.us

2. If residents at home do not have internet, they’re asked to call 740-538-0084 and leave a message with the following information:

¯ Identify your address.

¯ Say that you do not have internet access.

¯ Optional: Share your name if you would like to be contacted with more information about the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative conducting the test with GEO Partners LLC through grassroots participation.

READ MORE

¯ How we got here: “Speed Test: Group pushes for data to provide better broadband” (Published Oct. 7).

¯ Early growth in participation: “Take the speed test, document internet access” (Published Oct. 9).

¯ Phone number option added: “Thousands more needed for internet speed test” (Published Oct. 10)

¯ Targeting of specific townships needed: “I have sufficient data to do an analysis today, but this is not sufficient to convince the FCC,” explained Fishbine in “Internet speed test proponents seek more participation” (Published Oct. 15).

¯ Township focus shows progress, and greater need: “Concerned residents are given opportunity to refute internet service providers claims” (Published Oct. 21).

¯ Appalachian Speed Test Challenge in rivalry with West Virginia: “Mid-Ohio Valley reviews reaches of provided internet” (Published Oct. 22).

David Brown, a founding member of the cooperative noted Tuesday the utility of the Times in the grassroots effort.

“Instrumental would be an understatement, in getting the word out, getting support, getting the community involved,” he described.

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