As social isolation continues to force people to live, work and learn from home, a fast internet connection is more important now than ever before.  However, for many people living in the Inland Northwest, residential internet access is an issue and it’s more evident now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington State University Stevens County Extension / Spokane Tribe Broadband Action Team is collaborating with the Spokane Tribe Telecom Exchange (STTX) in announcing the formal public kickoff of a crowdsourcing project to determine who has residential internet service in Stevens County and the Spokane Tribe Reservation. The one-minute speed test can be done from any computer or mobile device connected to a home internet network.

“STTX has been working with WSBO and GEO Partners and we are excited to be collecting this additional data,” states Robin Kennedy, CEO of the Spokane Tribe Telecom Exchange.

The data collected will help with the future planning and funding for broadband projects.  Stevens County and the Spokane Tribe Reservation is home to over 6,400 K-12 and college students as well as parents required to work from home. The crowdsourcing project will provide the most accurate collection of internet speeds while demand of internet usage is the highest.

“We’ve done speed test before, but this time it’s better,” said Debra Hansen, director of WSU Stevens County Extension and coordinator of the SC/ST BAT. “This test is different from others we’ve asked you to do: the technology has improved, GEO partners has the ability to analyze and plan future projects, and we have a new Washington State Broadband Office that is here to support us moving forward.”

Testing will take place through May 22, 2020. For more information, Hansen and Leslie Hardwick, billing manager for the Spokane Tribe Telecom Exchange, can be contacted Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Their contact information is below.

The Stevens County / Spokane Tribe Broadband Action Team has been a strong advocate for additional broadband across the region and recognizes that high-speed internet is critical to economic development, education, business, public safety, and healthcare. The current crowdsourcing project will give the Broadband Action Team and the Spokane Tribe Telecom Exchange (STTX) the ability to challenge the FCC map with statistically valid data and apply for grants by demonstrating truly unserved and underserved areas.

SC/ST BAT encourages everyone to take the test and share the link. Participation is important and no personal information will be collected.

Media contacts:

  • Debra Hansen, WSU Stevens County Extension, 509-684-2588, hansen@wsu.edu
  • Leslie Hardwick, Spokane Tribe Telecom Exchange, 509-818-1471, leslieh@spokanetribe.com