Clinton County broadband study targets 4 high-priority regions


$8M may be spent for broadband expansion

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



Lindsay Miller of Ice Miller Whiteboard goes over a map of a region of Clinton County which the consulting group has recommended be a high priority for broadband expansion. She said the map’s blue lines signify favored routes for fiber.

Lindsay Miller of Ice Miller Whiteboard goes over a map of a region of Clinton County which the consulting group has recommended be a high priority for broadband expansion. She said the map’s blue lines signify favored routes for fiber.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left, Christopher Miller and Lindsay Miller, both of Ice Miller Whiteboard, prepare to discuss strategies for broadband expansion in Clinton County with county commissioners.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — A “Clinton County Comprehensive Strategic Broadband Plan” released this week recommends that four sections in the county be rated as highest priority for broadband expansion here.

The contents of the report are meant to better equip the county with the tools and data needed to bring about high-speed, reliable, affordable broadband throughout the county. In short, the term “broadband” refers to high-speed internet access that is always on.

A Columbus-based consulting group, Ice Miller Whiteboard, led the feasibility study that yielded the report now in the hands of Clinton County officials.

The prioritized list of potential build-out projects looks to expand broadband service to unserved and under-served areas.

First priority is accorded to, roughly speaking, a region enveloping Clarksville and Cowan Lake State Park.

Of the area the report said there is no depicted fiber presence currently, and that much of the existing broadband infrastructure there is what it described as “legacy DSL connectivity”. Early broadband network deployments used digital subscriber lines (DSL) or cable, the report added.

The second priority area in the county is given to, roughly speaking, the New Vienna region.

The report stated this is an area that contains much of Clinton County’s agricultural operations. High-speed connectivity facilitates what’s sometimes termed “smart” agriculture — enabling GPS soil mapping, seed and fertilizer counts, irrigation and grain-bin monitoring, and precision farming.

“As a result, broadband expansion to the tract [this second-priority area] is of key importance and, from a funding perspective, USDA grants may be contributable to the area,” the report stated. USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture.

The third priority area is identified as, roughly speaking, the Martinsville region. This area also contains much of the county’s agricultural presence, the report noted.

And the fourth priority area is, roughly, a swath of territory in the northwest and north-central region of the county.

The report can be put to good use as “a playbook for [broadband] providers,” said Lindsay Miller of Ice Miller Whiteboard when she met with county commissioners.

On Thursday, Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty said the board of commissioners have in mind a level of investment spending of potentially up to $8 million to go toward broadband expansion. Commissioners have said they want some of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) allotted dollars to go for broadband expansion.

There is also a large federal infrastructure bill that passed in August 2021 that included a total of $65 billion for broadband access to improve internet services in the United States for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities.

Miller said by using funds from ARP and the infrastructure bill, local governments can be more proactive when it comes to expanding broadband in their jurisdictions — and help steer where build-outs take place.

Clinton County commissioners in October 2021 selected the firm Ice Miller Whiteboard to come up with short- and long-term strategies for broadband expansion.

In the commissioners’ Request For Proposals for the countywide broadband study and report, their Introduction states: “The pandemic has highlighted the historic need for reliable, affordable high-speed broadband service, particularly for remote learning, telework, telehealth, and e-commerce.”

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Lindsay Miller of Ice Miller Whiteboard goes over a map of a region of Clinton County which the consulting group has recommended be a high priority for broadband expansion. She said the map’s blue lines signify favored routes for fiber.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/07/web1_screen_map_c-1.jpgLindsay Miller of Ice Miller Whiteboard goes over a map of a region of Clinton County which the consulting group has recommended be a high priority for broadband expansion. She said the map’s blue lines signify favored routes for fiber. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left, Christopher Miller and Lindsay Miller, both of Ice Miller Whiteboard, prepare to discuss strategies for broadband expansion in Clinton County with county commissioners.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/07/web1_broadband_prior_c-1.jpgFrom left, Christopher Miller and Lindsay Miller, both of Ice Miller Whiteboard, prepare to discuss strategies for broadband expansion in Clinton County with county commissioners. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
$8M may be spent for broadband expansion

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]