CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Commissioners have undergone a study that will help them determine how to proceed on addressing the broadband internet access issues in Pickaway County.
The commissioners have hired a consultant, Ice Miller, who is currently gathering information, including service maps, an infrastructure inventory and personal testimonials from the community to provide a picture of how to address the need best.
Currently, the FCC definition of a high-speed connection is a download speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload speed of three megabits per second.
“We want to get some guidance on what the needs are and what the funding sources are,” Gary Scherer, commissioner, said. “We had two proposals for a broadband study and we selected them for their expertise in the program. [Miller] has a long history at the state level.”
Jay Wippel, said broadband is a big issue for Pickaway County and the residents.
“We know that we have problems and we want to know what we have and what’s available before we try to fix them,” he added.
Lindsay Miller and Christopher Magill, of Ice Miller, who is consulting on the project, visited the commissioners’ office Tuesday to give an update on the process.
Miller said they have six total things to deliver to the commissioners. Those include the government policy analysis, service and infrastructure analysis, and the market analysis.
“We’re suggesting we kick off all three of those things simultaneously because that will help us determine where are the gaps, what are the gaps and how to fill those,” Miller said of service in the area.
“We’re going to complete them into October and then transition into programming and finance. It seems everyday, there’s a new broadband grant, which is great but also challenging.”
Miller said they would move into project identification in the first part of 2022 and then complete the comprehensive report by mid-March 2022.
One of the things Miller and Magill said they would want the commissioners to think about are potential access and infrastructure points and structures, things that can be used to submit a signal that are tall, such as light poles at stadiums and other towers in the area.
“Anything tall is helpful, these can even be lights on a football field,” Magill said.
Miller said some things to start thinking about include those structures, but also potential partners and communities within the county.
“We’ve obviously been approached by the county for this project, but if other communities or entities are willing to hand over their asset lists or if there are folks we should meet with as well, let us know,” Miller said.
The commissioners and Miller both agreed they’d meet monthly moving forward about the plan as it comes together.