This fall the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team (KSLTPT) began a new broadband planning project by holding 10 broadband community forums and gathered information through surveys to help better understand broadband interest, availability, and needs.
Almost 160 attended the forums which were held between Oct. 10 and Nov. 5 in Bickleton, Dallesport, Lyle, Glenwood, Underwood, Goldendale, Stabler, White Salmon, Upper Washougal and Skamania.
"We had a really short time to advertise the sessions and given what a busy time of year it was, we were excited about the great turnout at the community forums," said Brian Wanless, KSLTPT member and Community Enrichment for Klickitat County (CEKC) director.
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."
Broadband surveys for businesses and community members were also available during this same time period. Approximately 80 businesses completed surveys and 280 residents responded.
Initial survey results were presented to the KSLTPT committee on Nov. 29 and are recently posted on the KSLTPT website.
Findings will be used to help with next steps such as additional identification of broadband needs, community outreach and training.
According to Amanda Hoey, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) and KSLTPT lead, although broadband has been an important topic that MCEDD and others have been working on in this region, these are just the first steps in the KSLTPT project which will run through June of 2013.
Results from the community forums, surveys and other KSLTPT activities will be discussed in the spring when a second round of broadband meetings will be held at locations across the two counties.
In the meantime, those who would like to stay in the loop or provide additional input to the KSLTPT effort please visit the MCEDD website at http://www.mcedd.org/LTPT/LTPTHome.htm
The KSLTPT project is a planning project to increase broadband awareness, access and adoption in Klickitat and Skamania counties.
KSLTPT is led by the MCEDD in partnership with Community Enrichment for Klickitat County (CEKC) and Washington State University Extension. Support has been provided by the Washington State Broadband Office ARRA funds.