Clark Fork Community Computer Lab Now Open
Computers with internet access available to community at no charge.
In a large room next to the Clark Fork Post Office, ten gleaming new computers, all hooked to high speed Internet service, sit waiting for community members looking to connect with the world.
On February 8, officials and residents of this small town on the eastern side of Idaho’s Panhandle met with representatives from the USDA Rural Development program and with employees of Pend Oreille Valley Networks to cut the ribbon on a community computer lab that was provided free of charge as part of a USDA grant which POVN received to provide high speed Internet services to this rural community.
The center is staffed and open 25 hours per week, with services provided at no charge to the community for two years; after that time, it will be up to Clark Fork’s city council to decide if they want to keep the center open.
Local resident B.J. Solomon was hired by POVN to staff the center, where she provides basic support in computer and Internet usage, guiding less knowledgeable users through the intricacies of opening and maintaining an email account, viewing and saving photographs, doing Internet searches and the like. A full color, laser printer is networked to the system allowing users to print information (cost is 10 cents per page), and the plan is to bring in a web cam so that users can Skype with family and friends in far-flung places.
For those interested, the center is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:30 pm to 8:30 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. These hours will likely change in the summer depending on community usage. All are welcome, but young children do need adult supervision. Again, there is no charge to use the center.
Although the center does operate as a Wi-Fi “hot spot,” the range is limited (you must be very close to the center to connect), and in support of Clark Fork’s ten o’clock curfew, Wi-Fi will not be available after 10 pm. Residents are welcome to bring their laptops or other mobile devices to the center in order to connect to the Internet.
The Clark Fork Community Computer Lab was made possible through a USDA rural development grant which was awarded to POVN and used to provide high speed Internet services to the community of Clark Fork. Those interested in obtaining Internet at home can call POVN at 888-800-POVN or visit www.povn.com. To reach the Computer Lab, dial 888-800-7686 and choose extension 410.