JeffCo EDC urges public to take part in state broadband survey

Luciano Marano lmarano@ptleader.com
Posted 8/13/20

As part of an ongoing effort to accurately identify and map areas with low or no high-speed internet service, the State Broadband Office is asking residents to participate in a 1-minute survey …

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JeffCo EDC urges public to take part in state broadband survey

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As part of an ongoing effort to accurately identify and map areas with low or no high-speed internet service, the State Broadband Office is asking residents to participate in a 1-minute survey — and local economic experts say it’s important.

According to the Economic Development Council of Jefferson County, a state-designated agency that provides consulting and technical assistance to existing local businesses and also assists businesses in relocating to the area, the broadband mapping survey is an “innovative tool ... developed in partnership with GEO Partners and is the only one of its kind used in the United States to provide site-specific real-time tracking of actual broadband service speeds.” 

The survey is “quick and easy,” officials said, and requires nothing more than entering one’s address and initiating the speed test. 

Users can also take the survey multiple times to have their service speed data averaged. 

“Unlike the broadband service data used today, which only shows areas served by ISP’s that report the maximum available speed offering, this tool shows the actual download and upload speeds and catalogs how much people are paying for the service they currently get,” said Brian Kuh, executive director of EDC Team Jefferson. 

“This is vitally important information to have as local communities work to apply for grants and other special funding to improve broadband access,” he added. 

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature enacted Second Substitute Senate Bill 5511, recognizing broadband access as critical to all residents. The bill directed three state agencies to work in collaboration to meet the goal of providing access to affordable broadband to all. 

The Washington State Broadband Office mapping initiative will, officials said, help 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. Visit
www.commerce.wa.gov to take the survey and learn more about the COVID-era “Drive-In WiFi Hotspots” initiative. 

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