Written by Duncan West
The Connect with the World Conference about the municipal broadband in Mount Vernon and its benefits was a huge success, with over 120 attendees. The conference was held October 9, and featured local, regional and national speakers, including Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau and MIN-NS Executive Director, Mark Quenneville.
The value of municipal broadband for a community and as a counterweight to commercial broadband was confirmed by the range of attendees. There was representation from the North Sound, from within King County, and from several government entities in Eastern Washington.
Mount Vernon elected officials and staff were praised by the national speakers, Christopher Mitchell and Craig Settles as having one of the successful implementations of municipal broadband.
Among the highlights of the event I noted were:
- Friday Harbor based futurist Mark Anderson challenged the attendees to use the existing local broadband to change and improve the delivery of education Skagit County with more individualized curricula using online resources.
- Tim Pappendorf, IS Director of Mount Vernon Schools, stated that in the last 3 years he has had to turn down no requests for new and innovative programs because of bandwidth constraints or costs.
- Two local business leaders highlighted how municipal broadband allowed them to move their data intensive services to Mount Vernon, free of the constraints of commercial upload speeds which are typically less than a quarter of advertised download speeds.
Our Mark Quenneville spoke of how the municipal broadband infrastructure supported the MIN-NS mission of improving the quality of care for patients in our community by giving healthcare providers access to an aggregated community health record.