SnoCo working to get broadband to access internet

  • Saturday, April 27, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Access to high speed broadband internet has become increasingly important in today’s world. From commerce to communication, so much of our lives depend on reliable internet. While most urban residents enjoy high-speed internet, many residents in rural areas do not. That is why I am working to find new options for residents in rural areas of Snohomish County to access broadband internet.

As traffic congestion continues to frustrate commuters, telecommuting is becoming more common. The ability to download and send large electronic files, participate in conference and video calls, and manage online communications from your home allows for such telecommuting. This convenience allows residents the best of both worlds, being able to live in quiet rural parts of the county while working for employers in the city.

Rural broadband access not only improves quality of life for residents in outlying areas, it also creates opportunities to expand economic development.

Small and home-based businesses can blossom if they have this essential asset.

According to the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corp., Internet Service Providers are required to report broadband availability and speed twice a year. But the data can be misleading as entire zip codes can be marked as “served” if just one house in the area has broadband internet. This means the maps used by Congress, federal agencies, and the state do not paint an accurate picture of reliable internet.

This is why I have made rural broadband access a priority as we work with federal and state partners on the county’s legislative priorities. At a recent National Association of Counties conference, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue highlighted the administration’s focus on access to rural broadband and proposed investments to increase this access.

I have also spoken with our representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House about this issue. These partnerships at the state and federal level will be critical to making progress on expanding internet access.

As part of the effort to provide more accurate data, NACo has released a mobile app to test broadband upload and download speeds. The app is called “TestIt” and is available on Apple and Android devices. The app allows users to test the speed of broadband internet wherever they are. With more-accurate information, I hope we can better serve residents in the outlying areas of our county.

Nate Nehring is on the Snohomish County Council and represents Arlington, Marysville and other areas. Nate.Nehring@snoco.org

More in Opinion

Inslee missed chance on Boeing tax breaks

Jay Inslee had a chance recently to face his muggers. He didn’t… Continue reading

New Lakewood superintendent says, Let’s have a conversation

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Lakewood students, staff, parents and community members are… Continue reading

Tribes continue to work hard on salmon recovery

Treaty tribes are encouraged by fish passage improvement projects in the Puget… Continue reading

Tips on staying healthy as school starts up again

It’s after Labor Day, and we all know what that means: Summer… Continue reading

Hits and misses

Hits To Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith for his many years of… Continue reading

Marysville hits the road with improvements

One of Marysville’s big priorities is maintaining more than 420 lane-miles of… Continue reading

Talk of recession is just talk

I talk real estate every day and recently I’ve been hearing people… Continue reading

SnoCo working to reduce waste

Reducing waste is a top focus of the Snohomish County Council. There… Continue reading

How to make public hearings more interactive

At Monday’s Marysville School Board meeting, I asked during a public hearing… Continue reading

Marysville School District excited for start of year

By Pete Lundberg There’s nothing quite like the excitement that comes with… Continue reading