Broadband 101 workshop in Santa Cruz looks at projects, policy

Zach and friends.

“Economic development is not just building a Costco or a car dealership”, said Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, closing out a three hour workshop on the basics of broadband development. “What we’re doing now is laying down a backbone for future economic development.”

About forty people attended event last week at CruzioWorks, including supervisors, Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant and local public works and IT staff from around the county. Cruzio CEO Peggy Dolgenos was the host and emcee.

Joel Staker, network administrator for the City of Watsonville and chair of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, talked about the big public policy picture, comparing subsidising Internet infrastructure now to the decision more than 50 years ago to build the Interstate highway system. He also gave an update on Watsonville’s municipal dark fiber project.

I gave a presentation on what’s needed to build and upgrade infrastructure, and talked about broadband projects in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties, with a particular focus on the Sunesys middle mile project which is being considered for funding by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Tammie Weigl talked about the diverse – and potentially vulnerable – network infrastructure she manages for the County of Santa Cruz. UCSC’s Jim Warner presented research he’s done regarding the problems encountered with mobile broadband service in a coastal community. Local entrepreneur and broadband advocate Larry Samuels talked about private investment opportunities and partnerships with public and community-based projects.

The event was organised by Cruzio Internet, and co-sponsored by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium.