The Wallowa County Commissioners have it right when they recognize that telecommunications infrastructure - namely broadband Internet access - is one of the pillars upon which to build our community.

On Monday, the commissioners voted to allow spending $1,300 to put together, with the paid aid of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, an application to the FCC for a grant for technical assistance worth around $20,000 in getting this county off the dial-up dirt road and onto the long-wished-for Information Super Highway.

The county's Telecommunications Committee brought this opportunity to the commissioners, and their continuing efforts on our behalf are to be lauded. They've identified that our challenging geography and topology are exactly the kind of problems that the FCC is looking to tackle. It's easy to get wireless broadband Internet service in rural places that are flat (ala Hermiston), but we have just the kind of terrain that the Rural Wireless Community VISION program was designed to address.

Wallowa County needs high speed Internet capability to do business in the 21st Century. The reality is that our markets are global in nature, and our top-notch artists, growers, ranchers, craftsmen and businesswomen have to have 21st Century means to be able to reach out to the global marketplace on its terms if they're to compete out there.

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