When we first started talking about broadband issues it seemed  increasing broadband access for the county would help give the area a leg up on economic development issues making the county more attractive to entrepreneurs and companies which depend on network access and reliability. As nearly each week a news report emerges on another community planning or deploying wireless networks,  the advantage of such a deployment locally is quickly vanishing. Increased and more reliable newtwork access will soon be considered a necessity for economic survival. Our area will soon will not be able to market its technological friendliness as a unique selling point. Humboldt County, if and when it upgrades its network services, will only be able to say, “Me too!”

To be sure, things are moving along, however slowly. The study on the feasibility of getting redundant fiber to the area will be finalized in April. The study will be presented as part of a Broadband Forum that will involve community leaders in government and business. The Forum’s agenda is still being finalized. But wireless (both community and rural networks) possibilities will be part of the discussion. The RTC is working with the City of Eureka to put some kind of wireless program in to action and other communities are working on their own wireless plans. Nancy Fleming, running for county supervisor, has wireless access on her issues list which means at least the topic will get some focus in the upcoming campaign.

I only wish the wheels turned faster. In an era of lightning fast change our county seems to move like a calistoga wagon at times.