What’s happening with broadband Internet in the Gorge?

This question, and many more, came to the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team when they started asking communities and businesses about how, where, and why they are using the internet.

The Local Technology Planning Team is a group seeking to increase broadband awareness, access, and adoption in Klickitat and Skamania Counties. Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in partnership with Community Enrichment for Klickitat County (CEKC) and Washington State University Extension lead these efforts.

“So many of our neighbors work from their homes or need to get online to access educational opportunities, that strong internet connections throughout our region are required,” Linda Williams from WSU Extension said.

To support these businesses and residents, the project created a regional resource for broadband information at gorgebroadband.org.

The Gorge Broadband site has information on all things broadband in the Mid-Columbia region. People who need to find out which internet service providers serve your area in the five counties (Klickitat, Skamania, Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman), all those that report serving the county and the services they provide can be found on the site.

People looking for public access locations can hop online while on the go and find those are listed in the recently completed Public WiFi Hotspot Inventory. The site also includes information about the ongoing efforts around expanding broadband service to underserved areas and opportunities to hone one’s skills when it comes to making the most out of the existing internet connections.

For those still struggling to get online, Brian Wanless, of Community Enrichment from Klickitat County in Goldendale, noted that, “our residents and visitors are looking for places to connect and our hot spot inventory helps let them know where they can do that.”

In conjunction with the Gorge Broadband website listing public internet access points, there are also brochures available at select locations, including local chambers of commerce, with this information.

The website was created with sponsorship from Gorge.Net and the Gorge Project. Carrie Pipinich, MCEDD project manager, notes, “Gorge.Net and their staff have been supportive of the project, from working to increase access to broadband down to hosting this website to ensure that their community has the knowledge they need to take advantage of the broadband internet that is available. And the site wouldn’t be possible if our developers — the Gorge Project — hadn’t gone the extra mile. A huge thanks to both of these sponsors for their work to support broadband in the Mid-Columbia.

The Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team is led by Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in partnership with Community Enrichment for Klickitat County, and Washington State University Extension. Support has been provided by the Washington State Broadband Office with ARRA funds.

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