Never enough ways to hook up with the internet in the Eastern Sierra. The major fiber optic line project called Digital 395 holds promise of cyberspace to come, but right now another project will gather information for future internet providers to go into business in Inyo, Mono and Kern counties.

Eastern Sierra Connect is described as an assessment project to determine broadband capacity, needs and an affordable threshold for use. Those involved with this project, Dana Stroud in Mono, Doug Thompson in Inyo and Debbie Hess in Kern, want local residents and businesses to fill out a survey.

The state has provided money to assess internet use in our region. Dana Stroud said the survey will help identify gaps and where service is needed. She said that because of Digital 395, this survey will be a helpful tool. Once the fiber optic line is in, businesses can come in, buy capacity and deliver to customers.

This is an information tool for the future. Stroud said it will also help identify economic opportunities here. Doug Thompson of the Mt. Whitney Portal Store and Hostel in Lone Pine said that the “Eastern Sierra lacks internet providers, internet services and adequate communications capacity to meet our business and residential needs.”

Debbie Hess made it clear that Eastern Sierra Connect is not a Digital 395 grant. She said it’s a separate demand project “aimed at encouraging existing and potential providers to build local broadband to unserved and underserved communities in the Eastern Sierra region.”

You can fill out the survey online at Look for and go from there. Hard copies of the survey will also be made available and public meetings will also be held in many of our towns.