Wednesday, November 7, 2012

County needs good Wi-Fi

Blaine County needs Wi-Fi. Not an expensive, unreliable Wi-Fi, but one that allows Blaine County to become the kind of economic center it can be. 

Blaine County is in many ways a beautiful, safe, humane place to live, work, raise kids and visit. People come for the quiet natural beauty, summer and winter, and understandably want the area to stay beautiful. As a result, there isn’t a lot of pollution, visual or otherwise. But there also aren’t a lot of jobs. And there’s slack, spring and fall—so many jobs disappear on a regular basis. 

And there are other economic minuses. High-speed Internet access could help. Businesses that are already located in Blaine County could stay connected through high-speed Internet, even in slack season, even though the county is remote and even when the weather isn’t clement. 

Good Internet service is a big attraction for new businesses. The possibility of building a lot of brick-and-mortar infrastructure without damaging Blaine County’s beautiful setting is not likely. But with a strong Internet connection, Blaine County could still become an economic center. Here’s an existing proposal to check out: initial need for state, county or city resources to establish Phase 0 and I deployment. No requirement for direct county investment. An inclusive nonprofit organizational approach that allows participation from any and all Internet service providers that currently operate or plan to operate in the county, regardless of size and current market share. State-of-the-art network technology, with provisions for continuous upgrade of this technology.  Full network interoperability with in-place 802.11 hotspot infrastructure and wireless PCs. 

High-speed Internet access won’t solve all of Blaine County’s economic challenges, but it could help. 

Jane Beattie



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