The stories keep coming of public-private partnerships coming together quickly to help communities deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the State of Washington, many rural areas have slow, or even non-existent WiFi connections. And, it is increasingly clear everyone will need good access to internet to maintain social distancing while still working and getting necessary services. The State has teamed with a number of private-sector and non-profit organizations to start providing drive-up WiFi hotspot services all over the state. They have come together quickly and are trying to get their services out there just as quickly.
While the problem of poor broadband service in rural areas has been known for years, it's taking this crisis to finally come up with a creative solution to at least start to address it with a strong, coordinated team effort. It is no longer just a 'government issue' - it is an issue for everyone, and everyone is pitching in to figure it out and make things happen. This is inspiring.
“Depending on where you live, some seniors can’t refill prescriptions, furloughed workers can’t apply for unemployment benefits, small businesses can’t access financial assistance and students can’t do their homework,” state Commerce Director Lisa Brown said in a statement. “It is absolutely essential to make broadband universally available to strengthen communities throughout the state.”