1. History of Broadband Planning in Lincoln County
2.Lincoln County Economic Development Strategy
3. Survey Tool for Libraries
4. Survey Tool for Government
5. Survey Tool for Medical Facilities
6. Survey Tool for Broadband Service Providers
7. FCC Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Map
8. FCC Comment – Docket No. 10-90
9. Lincoln County Broadband Infrastructure Map
10. Survey Tool for Business
11. Business Assessment Press Release
12. Survey Tool for Superintendents
13. Student Business Plan Competition Press Release
14. Student Business Plan Competition Photo
15. Survey Tool for Public Utility Districts
County Awarded Broadband Planning Grant
(Davenport, WA, May 17, 2013.) Lincoln County has been selected by the Washington State Department of Commerce to receive a $26,880 Local Technology Planning Team grant. The proposal, a collaboration between the County, the Lincoln County EDC and Monica Babine of WSU’s Digital Initiatives program, scored in the top five of 13 applications representing 14 counties and 13 tribes. The Local Technology Planning Team (LTPT) grant program awards funds to projects that best address broadband deployment or adoption.
The planning grant will be used to inventory the county’s existing telecommunication providers and services; map existing telecommunication infrastructure; survey anchor institutions, businesses, and parents of school-aged children to identify what they need from broadband in order to thrive; and to evaluate the benefit, if any, of using the Lincoln County PUD to build out and manage middle-mile infrastructure.
This planning project provides a direct link to the objectives included in the County’s Economic Development Strategy and the Economic Development Council, authors of the strategy, will partner with the County on the grant. Others who have committed time to the project include School Superintendents, PUD Commissioners, Mayors, Librarians and Utility Providers.
HISTORY OF BROADBAND PLANNING IN LINCOLN COUNTY
In 2010, Lincoln County learned that new high-speed broadband fiber was coming. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) had funded the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to expand access to broadband services. That program had awarded grant money to Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) to bring high-speed broadband fiber to rural counties in Washington. We were on the list of counties to receive the fiber – a $5 million investment in Lincoln County alone. The fiber news set off a series of events that are summarized below.
- Lincoln County was working with the Department of Commerce Information Services on a national broadband mapping project when the news broke about NoaNet’s grant award.
- Prior to the build, Lincoln County Commissioners and their Information Services & Public Works Departments began working with NoaNet to ensure their fiber installation was not problematic.
- Lincoln County hosted the statewide NoaNet Project launch and a regional Broadband Roundtable in Davenport.
- A workshop was held for Commissioners, Mayors and Public Works Directors to facilitate communication throughout the install.
- The County’s Librarians and the EDC began working with the Washington State Library to plan for their new fiber connections.
- Lincoln County and NoaNet signed mutual inter-local agreements to locate NoaNet’s fiber optic hub in the County’s datacenter in Davenport.
- The county’s first Economic Development Strategy was adopted and included Broadband Expansion as a planned infrastructure investment. Establishing a Broadband Planning Team and Implementing a Broadband Expansion Plan were included in the action plan. The County’s Comprehensive Plan will also incorporate those strategies when updated.
- NoaNet expanded their connections beyond original anchor institutions.
- The County and the EDC partnered on an application for a LTPT grant and were awarded. Monica Babine was hired as the project consultant. Project results are summarized in a report available on the EDC website (LincolnEDC.org).
- Three service providers received contracts to utilize NoaNet fiber in NoaNet communities.
- T-Mobile installed seven cell towers throughout the county utilizing FCC Mobility Funds.
- Lincoln County participated in Senator Murray’s State Broadband Convening Meeting
- CenturyLink expanded services to one municipality and four unincorporated communities utilizing Connect America funds.
- Lincoln County took advantage of an opportunity to participate in the NTIA’s BroadbandUSA Connectivity Assessment Tool project. The project will enable Lincoln County to develop a broadband plan to support infrastructure funding requests. It also enables the NTIA to gain a better understanding of access and adoption in rural areas of Washington State.