Technology Action Plan Important for County’s Future

By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer

White Pine County completed its technology action plan as part of its involvement in the Connected Community Engagement Program. The top goals set in the plan are to offer download speeds up to 6 Mbps for every business and residence in the town of Lund through a service tower, redevelop the White Pine County website, expand mobile broadband access to the town of Baker and support the development of the Eastern Nevada Food Bank using technology as a catalyst.

“The Lund ANTC Broadband Project, if awarded the grant from the USDA, which includes high speed broadband to the community and the development of the Community Computer Center, it should start in the spring of next year and be in place by the summer of 2014,” White Pine Community and Economics Director Jim Garza said.

The move to provide faster broadband speeds and cell service to Lund and Baker are imperative goals, Garza said, because every citizen in White Pine County should have access to these services.

“No community, regardless of size of population, should be second choice to receive Internet services or to be without cell phone service,” Garza said. “Based on the resources available and specific circumstances, Lund, Preston and Baker have become the focus on broadband/cell phone initiatives due to they currently don’t have choices for service.”

The Eastern Nevada Food Bank is preparing to open its doors in White Pine County. And when it does, the hope is it will become a spot that provides numerous resources for those in the County.

“Eastern Nevada Food Bank will focus 60 percent of its efforts on educational initiatives once it opens its doors,” Garza said. “Having a wifi hot spot for the community and advanced video conferencing opportunities for use by our farmers and ranchers with other communities with similar interests, ENFB hopes to utilize broadband in its facility to improve the way of life for this community.”

Statewide, 14 communities are involved in the Connect Nevada program and is aimed at helping communities adopt and use technology to create a better environment for business, economic development, improved health care, more efficient government, enhanced education and improved quality of life.

The program researched communities’ biggest needs and then worked to make recommendations from there.

“This Connected Technology Action Plan is an outline for the future success and prosperity of White Pine County,” Connect Nevada State Program Manager Lindsey Niedzielski said in a press release. “Community leaders are working to ensure White Pine County is ready to benefit from all the economic and lifestyle opportunities that the digital age provides. It’s all part of Nevada’s solid plans for future growth.”

With specific goals to achieve, Garza said White Pine County will now focus on the next steps of the plans to ensure the goals are met in the future.

“Finding the funding sources to continue to improve broadband services into the community,” Garza said. “Our primary focus is the healthcare system staying way ahead of technology growth; then our schools, keeping our students on top of technology advances; then keeping everyone else up on current events and economic shifts.”

Non-profit organizations looking to improve broadband services without increasing costs, please email Garza at wpedc@mwpower.net who will forward company information to a company looking to provide this service.

As White Pine County looks to implement its action plan, the County’s ability to adapt and use the latest technologies is imperative to its long-term health, Garza said.

“It’s very important,” Garza said. “Rural communities need to have access to the outside world regarding technology changes on a regular basis that could benefit their local business and home life environment. Our children need to stay involved in real world issues and technology advances. Our adults need to continue to challenge their minds with educational opportunities available by Internet on specific interests and our seniors need to utilize resources available to them outside of their sphere of influence.”

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