In central Washington, the Methow Valley, Okanogan County, and the Colville Confederated Tribes Broadband Action Teams (BAT) are teaming up to improve connectivity and shrink the digital divide across the Methow Valley. As part of the process the BAT has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for technical assessment and technical implementation planning to help them meet their goals. Deadline for proposals is September 30th, but the BAT has indicated that they will grant an extension upon request.
Methow Valley boasts its scenic treasures, including the North Cascades National Park and the Columbia River. Tourists visit the region for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and vibrant arts scene. Like other similarly situated communities where natural beauty is an important feature, high-quality Internet access is difficult to come by.
According to the RFP:
Many residents of the Methow Valley live below the poverty line and have limited access to affordable, high-speed Internet services. This lack of access has impacts on education, economic growth and viability, emergency services, and quality of life. Simply put, this area lacks reliable wide-spread broadband access necessary to overcome these challenges.
In September, the Washington State Department of Commerce's Community Revitalization Board awarded a $50,000 grant to the BAT and the Twisp Public Development Authority (PDA) to dig deeper into the need for broadband service in the Methow Valley. Okanogan County provided a match of $16,667 to secure the state grant. The funding has allowed the BAT to move forward on this project.
Read more in the TwispPDA Methow Valley Position Paper [PDF] here.
In 2018, the BAT began working toward better connectivity by creating a work plan, seeking out stakeholders, and obtaining community input. This year, they wish to expand on their planning process and conduct a technical assessment. In order to complete this phase of the plan, the BAT wants a consultant who will:
- Facilitate Joint Planning with the BAT Team and its Stakeholders
- Identify Industry Role Models and Best Practices
- Perform Local Market Analysis
- Inventory and Map Local Infrastructure and Demand (or Need)
- Model Broadband Infrastructure Expansion Projects
- Perform Business Case Evaluation on Each Expansion Model
- Identify and Recommend Funding Options for Each Expansion Model
- Recommend Action Plan
- Bill of Materials and Rough Order of Magnitude (BOM and ROM) for equipment and services
While the proposal deadline is September 30th, the BAT wants to ensure that they hire the best consultant for the position and will extend the deadline to interested firms. To submit a proposal or obtain more information, send inquiries to info(at)twispworks.org