Toledo Telephone Company, Inc.

Toledo/Cowlitz Broadband Initiative

According to Toledo Telephone, fewer than 50 percent of households in its service area and fewer than 20 percent of the neighboring tribal area subscribe to broadband, and the region has a population that is disproportionately low-income, unemployed, under-educated, and older. The company proposes to increase broadband adoption and economic opportunities in the region by partnering with the Cowlitz Tribe to provide equipment, expand its existing network, and provide education relevant to the Lewis County community and tribal members. Participants will complete a training curriculum to qualify for a subsidized computer that would be provided “on loan” until the end of the two-year training period.
To more fully address root causes of the lack of broadband adoption in the area, Toledo Telephone would offer discounted broadband to enable participants to become home subscribers. The project plans to partner with established institutions in the tribal community, furthering adoption and increasing the program’s effectiveness.

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BTOP In Action
Instructor teaches woman how to use a laptop.

The Toledo Telephone Company, in partnership with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, has helped more than 300 community members learn basic computer functionality, Internet, and email skills through intensive classes. Upon successful completion of the course, participants also receive a laptop and two years of free broadband service.

Based on the success of the initial program, Toledo Telephone Company expanded their course offerings to include an auxiliary course to 40 additional participants each month. The auxiliary course’s curriculum covers a wide variety of topics, including Microsoft ® Office productivity software. When several senior citizen community members expressed an interested in learning how to share digital photos, Toledo Telephone Company also developed an Adobe ® Photoshop course.

All of these classes are part of a countywide initiative to increase broadband adoption through computer equipment and digital literacy education relevant to the Lewis County community and Cowlitz tribal members. Some community members that have successfully completed the course have implemented their computer knowledge in the workplace. One participant, who previously hand wrote her column for a local Toledo newspaper, now composes her article using her laptop and submits by email.

Last Updated: December 7, 2011

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