Snohomish County declares ‘Broadband Access Week’
The Snohomish County Executive and County Council on Thursday adopted joint resolution #21-007, declaring March 29 through April 2, 2021 as “Broadband Access Week” in Snohomish County.
The goal of Broadband Access Week is to increase public awareness of broadband needs and to increase responses to the broadband access and speed survey in Snohomish County. The survey, hosted by the Washington State Broadband Office in the Department of Commerce, maps survey responses to identify areas of the county with broadband access at adequate, inadequate, or no service levels. The survey can be found at this link.
“This year we have seen how our economy, health, education, and our very future depends on reliable broadband access,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “By encouraging people to take the broadband access survey, we will have a better idea of where resources need to be focused to ensure both our urban and rural communities have access to this critical infrastructure. Snohomish County wants to see more accessible and more reliable broadband in every corner of the county.”
Broadband Access Week is part of a broader campaign by the Snohomish County Broadband Action Team (BAT) to expand broadband access to all residents and businesses in the county. The BAT has been spearheaded by Executive Somers, Councilmember Nehring, and Councilmember Low in partnership with community leaders from business, education, healthcare, service providers, first responders, and local government. To learn more about the BAT, visit their website.
“For those areas of the county where broadband access is either limited or non-existent, we will continue to champion solutions,” said Councilmember Nate Nehring. “Our partnership with the state’s Office of Broadband Access affords us an opportunity to make our case at the local, state and federal levels for more resources to help us get broadband into the hands of more people, particularly in our rural communities.”
“I am pleased to work with Executive Somers and Councilmember Nehring to highlight broadband access as a top priority for our county’s rural residents,” said Councilmember Sam Low. “Broadband access and improved speed are vital needs for many, and communities across my district will benefit from this work. We are closely collaborating with local stakeholders to make sure this survey is shared throughout the community.”
“We have learned over the past year that broadband access equates to the health and education of our residents,” said Council Chair Stephanie Wright. “We must ensure everyone in the county, whether in our urban cores or our rural expanses, can get a job, stay healthy, and go to school. Improved broadband access will do just that.”
“Our community is stronger when we all have equitable access to reliable, timely, and relevant information,” said Council Vice Chair Megan Dunn. “Improving broadband access will improve equity across the county. I encourage all of our residents to take part in the survey and help us make the case for better access.”
“Whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural part of the county, you should be able to expect reliable broadband service,” said Councilmember Jared Mead. “Our experience during the pandemic has made it only more obvious that improving broadband access will help us improve our economy, education system, and opportunity.”
For additional information about the Snohomish County Broadband Action Team, go here.
OLYMPIA, WA -- The Washington State Broadband Office and state Public Works Board have launched a mapping initiative to identify gaps in high-speed internet service and areas of broadband infrastructure needs in order to advance the state’s goal to have universal broadband access in Washington by 2024.
The first step is for Washington residents to perform a one-minute access and speed survey found at broadband.wa.gov. Using the easy-to-follow instructions and a simple link, anyone can complete the speed test at home using any computer or mobile device.
Those with no internet access at their homes are encouraged to visit a local library or drive-in hotspot in their community, or use their mobile device to take the survey and check the “no available service” button to record their physical address. This simple access and speed survey will result in statistically valid data and mapping for decision makers to plot a course for Washington’s ambitious broadband expansion plans.
“Our State Broadband Office is leading the nation with this first-of-its-kind survey to collect broadband access and speed data at this level of detail,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We encourage everyone to take the test and share the link. The data will provide the foundation for achieving our long-term goal to provide quality, high-speed broadband access to every Washingtonian.”
“Imagine your child can’t use the internet to do homework, or the nearest doctor is 40 miles away and there’s no reliable option to consult via teleconference, or a small business can’t sell products or provide services online - the need for broadband access in every community has never been clearer,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Bridging the digital divide is one of the most important tools we have for widespread economic development and individual prosperity.”
Washington businesses and institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals and public safety facilities are also participating in the mapping project. Key partners with the State Broadband Office include mapping technology partner GEO Partners, LLC, Washington State Department of Commerce Information Services, Washington State University Extension, Washington State Library division of the Office of the Secretary of State, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
The map data gathered through the survey will provide validated information for use by any community for broadband expansion projects and support pursuit of grant funding available from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state programs such as Public Works Board and Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) broadband financing.
“Solving broadband issues at the macro level is not an option – it requires micro-surgery,” said Russ Elliott, director of the Washington State Broadband Office. “We are in a time where we need the most precise data in order to make intelligent decisions with the limited state funds available. We need everyone to participate in these surveys so we have the highest quality data to make the best decisions for providing future-proof infrastructure to solve these issues not just for today, but for the next generation.”
Many rural communities are already engaged in broadband projects and planning. In conjunction with this Broadband Office access and speed survey, the Public Works Board is conducting a Planning Assessment Survey for local governments to assist in mapping and tracking these infrastructure projects across the state. The Board currently has $18 million available for low-interest loans and grants for broadband construction projects.
To learn more about the Washington State Broadband Office and its work to lead a multi-agency collaboration dedicated to providing access to affordable broadband to all Washington residents, visit www.broadband.wa.gov.