Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Broadband coverage for dead spots

By Alannah Allbrett

The Orofino Chamber of Commerce held its first regular meeting of the year Wednesday, January 4 at the Ponderosa Restaurant.

Chris St Germaine, Project Development Leader for the Nez Perce Tribe, gave a presentation about recent developments erecting towers for a comprehensive broadband system over the Clearwater Valley.

Cities that will have accessible coverage include Culdesac, Kamiah, Fraser, Orofino Riverside area, Ahsahka, Peck, Cherry Lane, Cottonwood Creek, and as many areas in between as possible.

St Germaine said the mountainous topography has been a huge challenge in erecting the necessary towers and getting equipment to those spots. It is also prohibitive to bring power to remote areas. The cost to deliver power to one of the sites alone will be $68,000.

Through the American Restoration and Recovery Act, grants have been obtained, with matching funds from the tribe to undertake this massive project.

The target date for connectivity, in the areas mentioned, is estimated for early March, 2012. The rule of thumb is: if you can see a tower, you are likely in range for service.

Coverage speeds and costs range from: Tier 1 (for the home owner) 3 mbps down and 1.5 mbps up, at a cost of $20 (with a $100 setup fee). Tier 2 (10 mbps up/down for $300. Tier 3 20 mbps down/up for $500. Connectivity at 20 mbps – to be negotiated.

Broadband coverage will greatly assist emergency responders and some of the dead spots will be knocked out. The network will fill in the gaps to areas in Riverside and to the fisheries where before, coverage was not possible. 

For site survey information call: 208-843-7307 ext. 2.

Executive Director

Annual bills have been sent out to members via email. If you did not receive yours contact Stephanie Deyo.

$250 raised from the Festival of Trees will go directly to fund next year’s events with more lighting and to meet other festival needs.

The Chamber Auction will be held in March this year, near St. Patrick’s Day so that it doesn’t conflict with the World Jet Boat Races. Dates will be announced.

Next meeting

The next regular chamber meeting is scheduled for Jan. 18, at , at the Ponderosa Restaurant.

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