I am a computer engineer who has worked from my home office for 17 years. Last year, CenturyLink installed fiber-optic internet within 1/2 mile of my cabin, which is in the middle of nowhere outside Placerville, Idaho. I am now able to work from my cabin, which I did for most of 2020. Over the course of the year, I hired 9 local craftsmen as I enhanced the cabin. That is the impact of one remote worker living in your community. Having reliable broadband in rural Idaho will be a tremendous benefit to our economy and bringing resources (grocery stores, gas stations, medical clinics, schools, etc.) to parts of Idaho that have been declining in population for 50+ years.
With an estimated $576 million in ARP funds coming to Idaho cities and counties, expanding broadband service in rural Idaho needs to be a top priority. Despite these millions of dollars coming, unserved or underserved communities won’t see a dime if broadband development strategies and planning don’t happen. This is a major challenge for many rural communities, and support is needed to assist them to prepare for federal funds. For this reason, I joined the Imagine Idaho Coalition, a group of leading Idaho community leaders and organizations who are committed to providing the necessary support by working closely with the Governor, networking regional experts to locals, connecting communities, and removing barriers so rural communities can build much-needed broadband infrastructure which would allow all Idahoans to live and work in so many beautiful parts of Idaho.