Accessible, affordable, and reliable internet is an essential piece of infrastructure for residents, communities, and businesses. To fulfill this goal, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) has been working closely with the Wasco County Broadband Action Team to develop the Mid-Columbia Broadband Speed Survey. The Survey is now open and available for public participation for residents and businesses in Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman Counties in Oregon and Klickitat and Skamania Counties in Washington.
Responses to our local regional survey and taking the Washington State Broadband Office Annual Speed Test or Faster Internet Oregon speed test shows what broadband service is available at your home or business. This information will help partners clearly identify gaps in high speed internet services, ensure funding decisions can be made based on accurate service information, and learn more about how our communities and businesses are using broadband today.
“Ensuring we have accurate information on who has true broadband internet access today will better enable our local partners to access the significant state and federal funding becoming available over the next several years to help close the broadband gaps in our region,” says MCEDD Deputy Director of Economic Development Carrie Pipinich.
Local and regional partners are coming together through broadband action teams made up of community organizations, local governments, elected officials, and internet service providers to better define gaps in broadband service and explore strategies to improve those services.
“Much like rural electrification in the 1930s, we are today beginning a ‘rural broadbandification’ in the United States,” said Lee Weinstein, president of Q-Life. “We ask for everyone’s help in completing this easy speed test. We need to understand more about the service challenges in the five-county area so the Columbia Gorge area can be ready to pursue state and federal grant monies that are coming available. Please help us and complete the survey!”
Currently, the Federal Communications Commission defines broadband internet as a minimum of 25Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. However, the State of Washington has defined a goal of 150Mbps download and upload speeds available to all residents and businesses by 2028. Because of the significant impacts that quality, affordable broadband can have on access to education, health care, and the local economy, Q-Life Network (which serves The Dalles and Wasco County) has defined a similar goal for services in Wasco County in its most recent strategic plan.