Integrated Community Network project Part 1
Part 1 of a two-part report on the Integrated Community Network that
began three years ago.
There is a progress and goals meeting of the ICN committee the morning
of Wednesday, July 23.
Prepared by Rod Fleck
Background of Integrated Community Network project:
o Various efforts were underway to integrate telecom technologies
into the community with the NorTel ICN process originally proposed
by John Jones as early as 1996. However, at that time in this region,
use of the Internet was rather limited and the role of telecom technology
was still limited to techies, colleges, and some government and business
o In 1998, Forks Community Hospital submitted a community technology
grant that incorporated the idea of linkages between the various governmental
entities. Grant was not funded, so little else occurred.
o In 1999, a series of events, reaffirming the concepts of synchronicity
and serendipity, led to the ICN process:
o Forks Community Hospital, City of Forks and Quillayute Valley School
District were pursuing, separately and without collaboration, efforts
to integrate telecom technology in the community at various levels;
o City was working with CenturyTel to acquire CenturyTel’s former
facility in Forks;
o QVSD was leading the creation of the Washington Virtual Classroom
Consortium and seeking congressional support for that project and
dovetailing into their integrated community/SMART community proposal;
o CenturyTel corporate offices was exploring the idea of using the
NorTel ICN process in four communities in its 22 state coverage area;
o Chance meeting of the WAVCC advocate and city staff prior to meetings
with congressional leaders the purpose of which was to discuss congressional
support for each of our individual projects.
o Realization that we needed to work together became immediately apparent
– at least for the short-term:
o That approach then caught CenturyTel’s attention; and
o Forks designated as the first community to undertake an ICN approach
with CenturyTel’s assistance.
o The consolidated approach brought to it government, education and
health care leaders, as well as political support from local, state
and federal elected officials. Business was brought into the process
as quickly as we could develop the relationships needed to make that
Why pursue technology?
Kenai Peninsula School District in Alaska has a saying that one’s
educational opportunities should not be limited by their zip code.
We adopted and expanded that statement and that revised statement
captures the motivation behind the community’s effort.
We wanted to ensure that our residents have access to world class
educational, medical and recreational opportunities and not have their
zip code limit their education opportunities, their medical treatments,
or their recreational endeavors.
We also wanted to put an end to exporting our new natural resource
– our kids and our community members having to leave to fulfill their
occupational and educational wants and needs.
Finally, we wanted to create an environment that allowed for business
retention and the development of new businesses in our rural community
that utilizes telecom applications. We believed that if we could pull
it off, Forks would be an example of the new rural western town.
o Approximately 160 people attended on April 29, 2000.
o Included in that were 30 observers and 130 community members.
o Observer Corps was hosted at a dinner by the community the night
o Consisted of representatives from state government (two state legislators,
a member of the governor’s staff, CTED staff, UTC staff); federal
government (Sen. Murray’s staff, Congressman Dicks staff, Sen. Gorton’s
staff); local government (county commissioners and staff, Port Angeles
staff, Forks Mayor, council and staff); large businesses such as Microsoft
and Washington Dental Service; and, research institutions such as
the WSU telework office and UW Educational Partnerships and Outreach
o All day on a Saturday in Forks.
o Top Five Community Issues were:
o Business Enhancement & Recruitment;
o Increased Educational Opportunities (K thru 99);
o Educate community on uses/benefits of technology;
o Increase opportunities to do business with the government;
o Convince community and world that rural healthcare is world class
Issues into projects:
o In some cases specific applications were developed for a given issue,
however, the NorTel support faded just as we got into this.
o However, we still managed to develop specific projects and applications
in a Forkonian manner that were articulated in a grant application
to Hewlett Packard.
o In addition, other projects arose that we adopted/co-opted/breathed
into existence including infrastructure issues.
o Put another way, we did it our way.
Business Enhancement & Recruitment:
Benefit the business community by creating expansion opportunities
for existing businesses within the community, while ensuring the ability
to attract new industries and businesses to the community.
o Create 30 – 60 new jobs dependent upon broadband applications;
o Utilize rural telework strategy to attract new employers;
o Expand business opportunities for existing employers;
o Increased numbers of computers in small businesses and homes by
o Continued business training in e-commerce, information technology,
and web design.
Increased Educational Opportunities (K thru 99)
Benefit the education community by creating new educational
opportunities for K-20 students, while also providing individuals
the opportunity to pursue personal and professional development.
o Supporting K-99 educational opportunities for individuals in the
community via access to federal, state and/or local institutions through
click and go operations for either personal growth or for professional
o Develop a means of delivering tech-based training in the K-20 network
that would make available low cost computers to individuals and businesses
while providing training opportunities for students in a real world
o Develop a methodology to create and brokerage learning opportunities.
Educate community on uses/benefits of technology
o WEBTC Facility open to the public and staffed at a part-time basis
allowing evening access to the facility and its services;
o Integration of the entire West End in the utilization of technology
and broadband applications;
o Development and refinement of a self-sufficient community designed
portal providing information to local residents and visitors;
o Development regional focused, and event specific English as A Second
Language courses available 24/7 from any location within the West
End. Examples of specific course areas: Starting School, Teenagers
and School Events, Government services in the community, etc.; and
o Development and refinement of a self-sufficient community designed
portal providing information to local residents and visitors.
Increase opportunities to do business with the government
Benefit the governmental agencies by allowing them to provide a better
level of service to their citizens without increasing operational
costs, while also providing the citizenry a greater opportunity to
access and participate in their governments.
o Establishment of a means to permit the interactive participation
of residents in public governmental meetings without having to travel
long distances in order to be an active citizen in those spheres;
o Establish means of obtaining permit related materials on-line, as
well as applying for permits where possible, on-line with all governments.
Convince community and world that rural healthcare is world class
o Increase efficiencies by networking providers associated with the
o Create opportunities to use video conferencing as a means of providing
additional health care services to local residents;
o Creating a peer group for deaf students via video conferencing equipment;
o Health based content for Spanish speaking parents to include the
requirements associated with vaccination for school enrollment, geriatric
related health issues, etc.
(Continued next week).