Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Town Crier's Nolan Patching has a Solid Recap of the Meeting

"In impressive numbers, citizens of Winlock came together at the Winlock Community Building on April 7th to address the problem of high-speed internet around the area. While citizens for the most part inside of the city limits have high speed internet through CenturyLink, many outside the city limits and in the surrounding areas are cut off from this due to bandwidth limits. The meeting was much anticipated and it was shown in the enthusiasm of the crowd who eagerly wanted to speak to the representatives of ToledoTel and CenturyLink." Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Post Meeting Service Map Update

With 139 households having responded so far, this is what our resident reported service map currently looks like.  

Green = No Complaints
Yellow = Slow but Tolerable
Orange = WiFi, Streaming and Dowloads Nearly Impossible
Red = Within Service Area but Bandwidth Exhausted
Purple = Outside Current Service Area
Blue = Gave up on CenturyLink Service or New Construction, Future Status Unknown

Thursday, April 7, 2016

ToledoTel/CenturyLink/Winlock Community Meeting

ToledoTel/Winlock Community Meeting snap summary

Dale Merten and Fred Ryder were there representing ToledoTel.  Brad Althauser was there representing CenturyLink.  Edna Fund, Lewis County Commissioner and Ruth Peterson, representing Senator John Braun were also in attendance.

Dale Merten began the meeting by explaining how ToledoTel was able to fund fiber to the home within the Toledo area and why, due to the type and restrictions of USDA funding, it wasn’t an option for Winlock.  He also mentioned NTIA and NOA Net funds that have run dry.  Community Connect is the only current fund with monies available.  The downside is the initial costs to apply for the funds are over $100k and the monies awarded would fall short of the actual cost of improving and expanding service.

Brad Althauser was up next and he heard from many frustrated CenturyLink customers and people who can’t become customers because of bandwidth exhaustion.  He explained about the limitations of the current system and the costs involved in upgrading/replacing the system.  He is aware of our high-speed internet shortcomings and knows that we have long outgrown the capacity of the current infrastructure but, without a major source of funding, has very little recourse.  Residents wondered why CenturyLink was charging so much and providing so little and also why the onus of fund gathering was on the community and federal government and not also on CenturyLink, and why CenturyLink can’t transfer profit gained from metropolitan areas to improve rural areas.  Not all answers were satisfactory to the attendees and few frustrations were alleviated at this meeting.

Residents asked about beaming WiFi signals to get service.  We are hampered by hills and trees surrounding Winlock so it isn’t a solution for many in the area.  ToledoTel Exede is also available to some.  The consensus is that, while better than nothing, it won’t solve the core issue.

The takeaway is now we know ToledoTel’s limitations in the Winlock area.  The WIN (Winlock Improvement Network) Internet Committee will be in contact with Mr. Althauser to break down just what can be done and how much it will cost.  Can improvements be done in phases?  Can an interim gain in speed be reached by replacing copper wires to nodes with fiber optics without initially re-wiring direct to residences?  We plan to map out current infrastructure with the help of CenturyLink and other companies with cable in our area to learn what we are working with.  We need to be going after our piece of the federal grant pie.  Our Federal Representatives need to be hearing from us.  Our personal experiences need to be popping up in their inbox and mailbox with regularity.

We have a long road ahead of us. This task requires us to work together as a community.  Time to dig in and fight for what we need to bring Winlock up to speed!  Thanks to all who attended and asked questions, aired frustrations and showed that Winlock means business!