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Conference to explore broadband possibilities

Kitsap County’s economic growth depends in large measure upon the establishment of robust broadband connections, to bring high-speed Internet service to local businesses.

“We’re behind King County when it comes to broadband infrastructure,” said Mike Bookey, marketing manager for software vendor eAcceleration in Poulsbo. “But we can’t just match Seattle. Our service needs to be better, faster and cheaper. If we just match them, we’ve fallen behind.”

In an attempt to clarify some of these issues, the Kitsap Public Utilities District is sponsoring a two-day conference about broadband service, to be held April 13 and 14 at the Red Lion Inn in Silverdale.

Sponsored by NOANET, the gathering is expected to be highly technical in content, but will instruct attendees on the best way to take advantages of local technological resources.

“We’re going to give people an idea about how to use the local network,” said David Jones, a KPUD employee who is helping to coordinate the conference. Jones said Internet access should be treated on par with other utilities such as water, gas, electricity or cable.

“It’s becoming a necessity,” he said. “When you shut down your connection, there are a lot of tools you lose. Without the Internet, people definitely feel deprived.”

Bookey said a robust broadband connection allows seamless telecommuting. This saves time, money and wear on the car, while cutting down on traffic and pollution.

In the meantime, as we build the lines the business will come to us.

“It’s important for a business to be connected to the world from a prosperity standpoint,” said retired Rear Adm. Bruce Harlow. “A lot of businesses are conducted over the Web, and we are, in essence, on an island in Kitsap County. There is no way to manufacture heavy goods here, but this is a great place to locate software companies and distribute electronic products.”

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