Cody Bye is one of thousands of people who works for his employer remotely. He grew up in Pomeroy, a city of about 1,400 people, but left town for college and a career. In 2015, he and his wife moved back to his hometown to raise their family, but before doing so, Bye made sure their new home was close to Pomeroy’s DSL internet hub so he could still do his job.
Bye is a video game developer consultant for a company called Vivox. The company is based in Boston, his supervisor works in Austin, Texas, and Bye spends a lot of his time video conferencing with people from around the world. The 34-year-old also runs a startup specializing in digital advertising.
“Garfield County is a beautiful place with nice, hard-working, industrious people, but my №1 concern was: Can I do my job? The answer was: kind of,” Bye said.
Expanding high-speed internet statewide is a priority for Gov. Jay Inslee, who visited rural communities across the state this week to discuss broadband needs and solutions. His three-day tour, which began Wednesday, included stops in the Eastern Washington communities of Pomeroy, Pullman, and Chewelah, the Central Washington communities of Quincy and Wenatchee, and the coastal community of La Push on the Quileute Indian Reservation.
Access to quality and affordable broadband internet helps create jobs, improves public safety and health services, and increases education opportunities — but some less populated communities in Washington state don’t have access to adequate broadband service.