Friday, March 29, 2013
During fall 2012 the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team began a new broadband planning project by holding 10 broadband community forums and gathered information through about 350 surveys to help better understand broadband availability and needs.
Almost 160 attended the forums. According to Linda Williams, WSU Extension and also a KSLTPT member who co-facilitated the forums, “We heard from people without high-speed Internet or cell service and learned that even those with broadband are experiencing challenges as demand is outpacing the availability; especially as we increasingly rely on these services to stay informed, for entertainment, work, connecting with family, friends, banks and much more.”
Brian Wanless, Community Enrichment for Klickitat County board member and also a forum co-facilitator, noted when discussing the project that “Having reliable, affordable high-speed Internet is as important today as having power and water.”
Many towns the KSLTPT visited in the fall felt that despite this importance, there was a lack of readily available information about broadband in our communities.
The KSLTPT listened, and will come back to discuss what it learned from the surveys, community forums, and conversations with Internet service providers, residents, businesses, and local and regional governments.
Topics will include updates on service, information on upcoming broadband training opportunities, and what the planning team learned about broadband strengths and gaps from community members throughout Klickitat and Skamania counties.
The forums will also be a chance to give feedback on the information gathered by the KSLTPT.
Wanless and Williams will be hosting the spring community broadband forums. They will take place starting April 4 at White Salmon Library, 7 p.m.
Other meetings are planned for April 9 at Glenwood Grange, 7 p.m.; April 11 at Skamania PUD in Carson, 7:30 p.m.; Mill A School, 7 p.m. on April 16 and in Bickleton on April 25 at 7 p.m.