BroadbandOhio, OVRDC to help communities develop broadband access

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 26, 2022

WAVERLY — The Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission is named one of four teams to participate in the BroadbandOhio Community Accelerator Cohort, a community broadband planning program which educates and supports leadership teams as they create their community’s broadband vision and goal to pursue the best possible broadband solutions for their area.

Under the direction of the Ohio Department of Development and in conjunction with the OSU Extension Office and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society, BroadbandOhio has convened a group of four teams from communities across Ohio to participate in an educational, capacity-building program.

The goal of the program is to provide support to community champions and drive engagement on solutions to finally eliminate the digital divide in southern Ohio.

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A recent broadband study by OVRDC and Reid Consulting Group revealed 29 percent of households and 72 percent of populated areas in the 12-county Ohio Valley region do not have access to FCC minimum internet speeds of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up. Detailed county broadband profiles are available for public download at

In conjunction with the Ohio State University Extension Office, and others, team participants will develop community-specific plans for broadband expansion and lay the groundwork for progress through education and empowering communities in developing successful project applications to available funding sources.

Team members from eight counties in southern Ohio will convene weekly for 15 weeks with a goal to build capacity for the region.

Team members include:

• Godwin Apaliyah, OSU Extension and Economic Development Director, Fayette County

• Sarah Beath, County Administrator, Brown County Commissioners

• Gina Collinsworth, Public Information Coordinator, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission

• Terri Fetherolf, Economic Development Director, Vinton County

• Holly Johnson, Economic Development Director, Adams County

• Mike Meadows, Fayette County Information Systems/Information Technology Manager

• Malcolm Miller, Fayette County Soil & Water Conservation District

• David Painter, Clermont County Commissioner

• Scottie Powell, Scioto County Commissioner

• Brian Rice, VP Technology & Infrastructure, Southern State Community College

• Michael Rutherford, Business Program Director, USDA Rural Development

• Anthony Tindall, USDA Rural Development

• Corey Watson, Director of Technology, Lawrence County Commissioners

“This is a great opportunity for OVRDC to utilize the broadband work that has been completed for our region by Reid Consulting Group and identify areas to focus our ongoing efforts,” said John Hemmings, executive director of OVRDC.

People who are interested in learning more or contributing to community broadband efforts can contact Gina Collinsworth, OVRDC public information coordinator, for more information at or 740-947-2853.