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Here comes the A-Team!

by CHANSE WATSON
Managing Editor | March 30, 2021 7:10 AM

WALLACE — A new group currently being formed by the Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation is looking for members and wants you to join!

No, you probably won't be rolling around in a tricked out van with Hannibal and the rest of the A-Team, but you will be helping the community solve a longstanding problem — a lack of broadband services in Shoshone County.

SVEDC Executive Director Colleen Rosson recently announced the creation of the Shoshone County Broadband Action Team with the goal of advancing all things involving broadband.

The idea of the team was first dreamed up by Rosson and Silver Valley resident Linda Yergler after participating in several North Idaho Broadband workshops in October 2020. These workshops, held in collaboration with the Panhandle Area Council, Clearwater Economic Development Association and Broadband USA, provided communities with expert technical assistance and access to it in the future.

Borrowing from Sanders County, Wash., the idea of forming a local Action Team was born.

The team, when it gains more members, will be tasked with answering some of toughest broadband questions that the county faces.

"How do we get connectivity out to the gulches? How do we make sure what is being installed is affordable? How do we work on the devices and educate the community so they understand what broadband means? How do we enhance telecommuting and telemedicine?" Rosson said.

The first big step for the team will be securing grant funding from the state of Idaho that would cover the cost of network planning.

With a tailored plan, the community would have "a well-developed, data driven plan to move forward with much larger grants and opportunities that will provide access to our county along and outside the I-90 corridor."

For this plan to come together, Rosson asks only two favors for now:

• Ask, join and/or tell others in the community about the group.

• Take a few minutes and run internet connection speed tests wherever you are.

The speed tests are incredibly vital, as it shows the state's broadband office just how underserved Shoshone County truly is when it comes to broadband.

"Do it from different devices, at different times and from different locations," Rosson said. "Use your internet service, Wi-Fi and cell carrier."

Rosson explains that FCC broadband access mapping currently relies heavily on the larger internet providers to say where service is provided.

"We all know very well that that's not accurate," she said.

All the data collected through the tests is anonymous and is not public. The test only records the upload and download speeds, location of the test, and the network it runs through.

"This is where we definitely need everybody to participate," Rosson stressed. "Please help us paint that picture of what connectivity actually looks like in our community."

To run a speed test, visit www.speedtest.net and select "GO."

For more information on the SCBAT, contact Rosson by phone at 208-352-6239 or my email at director@silvervalleyedc.com.

photo

Rosson