Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Let's get Washington up to speed

Considering Washington's reputation as high tech state with so a significant ecommerce presence, it's easy to assume that we're at the forefront of high-speed Internet availability. Unfortunately, that's not the case: only half of Washington residents have access to broadband Internet.

Our broadband isn't the fastest around, either. We're 18th in download speeds and a mere 38th upload speeds compared to other states.

Improved availability of broadband is important for number of reasons. The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers and Communications Workers of America (Washtech/CWA) point out that widespread high speed Internet access results in a stronger economy, better health & safety services, and increased educational opportunities.

What is needed to increase the availability of broadband Internet access is a firm commitment at the state and local levels to require equal access, which would ensure a robust technology sector and create new opportunities for growth.

The High Speed Internet Initiative, based on an extremely successful plan implemented in Kentucky, aims to do this and more:
  • Creates a public/private partnership that includes providers, local and state governments, unions, non-profits and health, education and public safety organizations to work collaboratively to develop and lead a statewide internet deployment and adoption initiative, including developing local area planning teams to facilitate local planning.
  • Create and regularly update mapping of broadband services and identify gaps in service.
  • Create an inventory of existing high-speed Internet services and other baseline assessments necessary to inform a research driven broadband expansion strategy.
You can participate in the effort to pass this legislation by signing up at this site. Let's come together to bring Washington up to speed.


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