When broadband Internet recently arrived at the Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center at the University of Idaho, Kyle Nagy said the technology became an instant “game changer” by expanding distance education opportunities.
“Before, when it was windy or there were thick clouds, we would lose Internet sporadically all day,” said Nagy, the center’s superintendent and the garden’s operations manager.
Not having to attend a class in person on a given day and time has allowed me to thrive in all aspects of my life without feeling overwhelmed or as if I could not achieve my goals. Jessica Hall, U of my graduation at Caldwell
When the center of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, near the base of Mount Schweitzer, hosted the Heritage Orchard conference before the pandemic, perhaps 100 people attended the face-to-face event.
Now, thanks to broadband installed last winter, more than 1,200 researchers, gardeners and gardeners from almost every 50 states and 18 countries signed up for the seminars last spring.
“We reached a much bigger crowd,” Nagy said. “Without a doubt, broadband and having the bandwidth to reach a lot of people has changed the game.”
A $ 410,000 Idaho Department of Commerce rural broadband grant funded the service, which provides publicly accessible wireless internet in downtown Boundary, Bonner and Kootenai counties.