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Reliable Wireless Broadband Access in Rural Washington Makes Us All Safer
Oct 28, 2011 (12:10 PM EDT)


Statement By Miland Walling, Washington Fire Commissioners Association

BICKLETON, Wash., Oct. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The mobile products we see in more and more homes, schools, and childrens' hands are the same products law enforcement and emergency responders can use to improve their response time and situation management. The only thing missing in many areas of Washington is reliable wireless broadband connections.

As a member of the Washington Fire Commissioners Association, I know first-hand the need for reliable communication among departments, quick assessment of situations, and the benefits of easy access to education and training. Rural area firefighters, law enforcement and emergency responders will benefit immensely from the spread of quick, reliable broadband.

We expect Washington state, home to many members of the tech industry, to lead the way in access. However, once you're outside of the big city, connection speed and access drops. In fact, Washington state ranks below the national average for total homes in broadband connectivity of at least 10 mbps (7.4% compared to 11.5%), according to the Washington State Broadband Report. To view the report, visit http://broadband.wa.gov/sites/default/files/docs/WashingtonStateBroadbandReport.pdf. The report further highlights that nearly half of all residents have access to connectivity of only at least 3 mbps.

Think how much faster and how much more information our firefighters and police could have with better communications connections. Or how much time they would save training from their computer at home with their families. Or how much more information can be sent directly to your pocket. The technology of today can provide these easy to use technologies if the connection is right.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama pledged to bring high-speed wireless to 98 percent of Americans within the next five years. While public sector commitments to growth in broadband are worthy, our representatives in Washington, D.C. should look for ways to help the private sector to expand wireless access across the country and right here in Washington state.

Miland Walling

Bickleton, WA

(541) 980-4185

SOURCE Miland Walling, Washington Fire Commissioners Association