EDITORIAL: Wisdom in a wi-fi plan
Jan 05, 2013 (Kitsap Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
We're eager to see the results of a pilot project in Poulsbo that's incorporating smart planning and beneficial collaboration between the Kitsap Public Utilities District and Front Street businesses.
Expanding the access to the county's broadband Internet service in the downtown corridor will be accomplished with a deal that's a win-win for the PUD and two community meeting places, the Hare & Hounds Public House and Tizley's Europub. The businesses pay the power bill for an antenna purchased and installed by the PUD, as was also the case at Fist Lutheran Church, and customers or visitors benefit with free and reliable wireless service.
Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern gets a nod on this as well. This initiative tracks an idea that Stern has pushed for years: improving telecommunications capacity to foster Kitsap's economic base and expand the community's access to reliable fiber-optic service. His focus on a "telework" pilot in the past centered on the opportunity telecommuting presents to add more high-tech employees, or to keep them here rather than commuting out of Kitsap, more accurately, as well as a cost savings for companies with remote workers.
This initial downtown expansion may mainly serve customers of the two shops now -- although working from either on a Friday afternoon doesn't sound too bad, if your boss is into it. But Poulsbo can be a successful example of how a PUD can serve a 21st century public as well. Kitsap Public Utilities District is now looking at ways to expand the fiber-optic lines to accommodate broadband access in other areas, perhaps with a rural neighborhood up next.
Our dependence on reliable Internet service and wifi grows almost daily. To see an agency putting those needs ahead, and working with a vested community of business interests to share the burden, is a model for the rest of the county to follow.
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