Because reliable, high speed internet plays such a vital role in the economic health of our valley, TwispWorks has identified rural broadband internet as a top priority advocacy issue and has been working to improve access for all residents. In the Spring of 2018, TwispWorks began leading the discussion convening meetings between our local internet service providers, governments and interested citizens.
The Partners for Rural Washington (PRW), through a grant from Communities of Concern, has teamed with TwispWorks, Okanogan County and the town of Twisp to perform a valley-wide, rural broadband internet needs assessment. At the end of the study, PRW will provide a written report outlining the possible next steps (and cost estimates) for enhancing broadband service in our rural community. This grant funded work is being done at no cost to the towns or county and you can read the Memorandum of Understanding between the Partners for Rural Washington and Okanogan County, Twisp and Winthrop below.
Over 13% of Methow Valley residents work remotely and rely on the internet to earn their livelihood. Every day, valley businesses rely on the internet for marketing and financial transactions. Students rely on the internet to complete assignments and parents actively monitor their progress through the internet. Here in the Methow Valley, we are fortunate to have great, local internet service providers who are committed to quality and customer service. But it’s no secret that some valley residents either do not have the service that they require or are unaware of how to get the service that they want. With input from area experts, elected officials and community members, we’ve created this roadmap to help achieve this ambitious goal:
1. Assemble a team to develop a community broadband vision;
2. Facilitate a planning process to understand community broadband needs;
a. Perform a valley-wide needs assessment and identify gaps in service;
b. Evaluate and chose appropriate technology and service options;
c. Create a broadband plan;
3. Implement a community led plan;
a. Identify funding opportunities;
b. Complete identified infrastructure improvements as necessary.
What can you do to help? Take this survey and pass it on to your friends, family, co-workers or anyone else you know who lives here! And join us on Wednesday, October 10 at 7:00 pm at the Methow Valley Community Center for a community discussion. Mario Villanueva, the Executive Director for Partners for Rural Washington will share insights from the survey and lead a community conversation on what your internet experiences and needs are. Join us!