Often heralded for its economic prosperity and continued population growth, even Delaware County is not immune to the challenges of “internet deserts” — geographic regions where there is little or no access to reliable and affordable broadband services. A new community survey, launched today, hopes to be the first step in eliminating these deserts in Delaware County.

“The 2020 U.S. Census highlighted this challenge and confirmed that, in some parts of Delaware County, nearly 20% of households do not have adequate access to the internet,” said Jane Hawes, the Delaware County Commissioners’ Director of Communications.

As a result of this finding, Hawes added, the Commissioners decided to undertake a study of the fiber infrastructure in the county. Working with Columbus-based consultants Ice Miller White Board and national broadband experts Lit Communities, their goal is to identify these internet deserts and develop strategies that will help internet service providers overcome the economic obstacles to providing broadband services for the entire county.

The survey, available at www.bit.ly/delawarecountybroadband, asks residents and business owners in the county to share information about the services that are currently available to them. It also asks survey respondents to take a “speed test” that measures how quickly data is downloaded and uploaded from the internet connection they have. The whole survey takes about 3 minutes to 5 minutes to complete.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical to all Delaware County residents,” said County Commissioner Jeff Benton, president of this year’s Board. “We are interested in learning about internet access in our county so we can address our constituents’ needs.”

The survey will be open until Dec. 4, 2023.