Partners seek high-speed internet funding

Lake County Examiner

Mon Aug 15 2022 07:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

SCOEDD is partnering with Stone Ventures and Lake County to develop multiple feasibility studies and submit various grant applications to obtain funding for broadband solutions.

SCOEDD (South Central Oregon Economic Development District), along with its partner Lake County, signed a consultant agreement with Stone Ventures to develop multiple feasibility studies and submit various grant applications to obtain funding for broadband solutions that can be submitted on behalf of Lake County, Klamath County, Chiloquin (acting as its own municipality), Christmas Valley (acting as its own unincorporated community) and the town of Lakeview.

Denise Stilwell, executive director of SCOEDD, pointed out that the goal of the partners is to streamline efficiencies and avoid redundancies and duplicative efforts for broadband implementation across Lake and Klamath counties. Lake County Commissioner Barry Shullanberger stated that the use of Stone Ventures will “...ensure the partners work together and are aligned with the primary goal of obtaining funding to support high-speed broadband connectivity for every household.”

Krystal Stone, owner of Stone Ventures, is an accomplished industry veteran. Stone Ventures brings 25 years of collective broad telecom knowledge as it relates to construction, engineering, regulatory, and customer service. Krystal is a strong believer in the Oregon telecommunications companies working together and has just been made a voting member of the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council for the State of Oregon in addition to running and participating in four additional telecommunications committees working to educate and implement broadband connectivity in the State of Oregon. Krystal Stone is thankful for all the hard work that has been made up to this point and pointed out that “...this is an unprecedented movement to have governments, tribes, co-ops, public, and private companies all pushing together in the same direction. We are making history here and I am honored to be playing a small part in getting our communities connected.”

Working with LinkOregon and local municipalities, Stone Ventures is currently collecting speed test data for all partners and is now coordinating efforts with datapoint companies to collect local asset information from power companies and current telco's deployed in the region. “We are asking all community members to take part in this ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to expand broadband access and affordability by taking part in The Faster Internet Oregon speed test campaign (www.FasterInternetOregon.org),” a press release about the project explains. Faster Internet Oregon is a statewide broadband mapping effort that encourages Oregonians to measure their Internet speeds at home or report if they do not have an Internet connection.

“This campaign will help identify gaps in high-speed Internet service and provide data to ensure that funding decisions on broadband infrastructure are based on an accurate assessment of gaps in connectivity across urban, rural, and Tribal communities statewide,” the release details. It adds, “The site features an easy-to-use speed test and asks a few simple location questions for mapping accuracy. The speed test takes less than one minute to complete and will help ensure equitable distribution of broadband funds to the communities that need it most.”

There are several grant opportunities for broadband solutions and the partners are seeking community and business involvement to make sure that all broadband needs are met for both today and tomorrow. The partners are reaching out to cities and communities to educate them on their various broadband deployment options and determine how each community would like their deployment to take place.

About Stone Ventures:

Stone Ventures is a Native and Woman Owned consulting firm based out of Chiloquin. They specialize in municipality, government, for profit, and non-profit communications and broadband design and implementation to further economic development and close the digital divide.

About SCOEDD:

The South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD) is focused on creating a thriving economy, rooted in our local renewable resources, the resourcefulness of our people, and our willingness to work together for the mutual benefit of both Klamath and Lake Counties.