Throughout this project, the partnerships and relationships that I have made in the community have drastically influenced the direction that this project has taken. I can’t state enough the importance of having boots on the ground early on in a project of this nature. We have picked up on a lot of great information through community networking. Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) is working on a project to bring fiber optic cable to their hydroelectric plant on Terror Lake. Luckily, through our network, we were able to take advantage of this opportunity to address the need for fiber in Port Lions.
After meeting with KEA, we found out that they were willing to develop a price quote to run the fiber. This was great news but, even better news was that they also had already purchased the fiber to make the run from the dam to Port Lions. The fiber for the project is already here in Kodiak! Now, we just need to secure funding for the project.
Keeping our ears to the ground pays off but, the more people listening the better. This kind of win is only a small victory in on the road to connection. However, it shows how important community networking can be for a digital inclusion project. From what I have learned during my work on this project, planning a digital inclusion project in your community must be preceded by a significant amount of community networking, establishing partners and nurturing those relationships.