The pandemic has proven that many desk jobs can be worked remotely, making reliable and affordable internet service all the more important. McCall City Council declared broadband an essential service and is now taking steps it says will make it more accessible to the community.
During a recent city council meeting, McCall signaled its intent to join a new partnership called the West Central Mountain Fiber Network. The partnership would include Valley County and the surrounding cities Donnelly, and Cascade as well as McCall. The goal is to create a community-owned fiber internet network – to add additional and faster broadband options in the rural communities.
According to WCM Fiber Network’s website, the advantages of community-owned broadband include faster internet speed, lower internet costs, increased competition among internet service providers, which gives residents more options, and improved economic development that fosters innovation. Nobody would be forced to participate and participation would be on an opt-in basis.
The partnership isn’t finalized yet. McCall entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with WCM at its last city council meeting, which is the first step in bringing this new network to the area.
“This fiber network would be inclusive (of) all of Valley County. The goal is to create a network of communities that work together toward faster, open-access internet with competitive pricing for the whole community,” a city council staff memo said.
The next step in the process is developing a Joint Powers Agreement, which McCall City Council expects to see in the near future.