NoaNet Broadband Expansion Connects Southeast Washington

  • Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet)
DAYTON, WA - A major expansion of broadband fiber is now complete in Columbia, Garfield and Walla Walla counties, providing many local residents, businesses, hospitals, schools and libraries with access to high-speed Internet for the first time.

To celebrate the project’s completion, Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet), the Columbia County Health Department and the Columbia County Rural Library District are hosting a community open house on Tuesday, February 19 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Dayton Memorial Library.

NoaNet is overseeing construction of two federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grants totaling $140 million to bring high-speed Internet to mostly rural areas of Washington. The statewide broadband expansion project, a joint effort between local PUDs, private companies, ports, cities, counties and NoaNet, plugged the area into regional fiber networks by constructing cable from Walla Walla and College Place to Pomeroy and Dayton. The project is connecting Asotin and Clarkston to the broadband fiber “highway” as well.

Community Taps into Speedy Library Internet Service
“The library is finding more people coming in with their laptops because the Internet service in the library is so much faster than what most people have at home,” said Janet Lyon, Director of the Columbia County Rural Library District. “It means quicker access on the computer, being able to watch YouTube without delays in the movie, being able to get to some games that need faster bandwidth. They are enjoying the increased speed. The staff finds that the library’s ILS system is faster; thus, there is not such a delay in being able to check-in and check-out material.”

The open house event will give local residents and businesses a chance to learn about the project and how they can possibly get connected to the new service at their businesses or homes. NoaNet and local ISP representatives will be on hand, and dessert and refreshments will be provided. There will also be a video and other informational material available for those who want to learn more about NoaNet broadband expansion projects underway statewide.

NoaNet CEO Greg Marney believes the broadband connection will be a valuable asset for the region.  “High-speed broadband Internet expands the realm of possibility in rural Washington,” he said. “In addition to improvements to medical care, schools, libraries, government agencies, businesses and individuals, expanding broadband makes good economic sense by creating immediate jobs and attracting economic investment to rural areas.”

“It will make a great difference to people, especially home-based businesses where faster service is needed,” said Lyon.

Southeast Washington is part of a broadband expansion program that all-told will reach more than 170 communities and 2,000 schools, hospitals, emergency responders, libraries, colleges and universities, including:

  • Connecting 34 community colleges, creating opportunities for collaboration on research and information exchange.

  • Making remote diagnosis, enhancing professional training with reduced travel, and making it possible to provide immediate assessment and guidance to emergency workers via videoconferencing.

  • Enabling businesses to use credit/debit card systems, automated inventory and fulfillment systems, and web sales that are not currently available or extremely limited today.

  • Giving farmers the ability to participate in commodities trading – a key competitive disadvantage to the family farmer.


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