Good News Part Two (Thanks to the Port of Bellingham)
Dec 14, 2018 —
The Good News (and it is very good):
As I said last time this is part 2 of some excellent new we've received from the Port and PUD Commissioner Atul Deshmane lately. After the Port/PUD press release about their $50,000 feasibility study (with another $30,000 to be put towards broadband) I received the following e-mail from Ken Bell on behalf of the whole port commission. I have been speaking with Michael Shepard for years now, but it was very nice to receive confirmation that the Port gets the broadband situation and the role that a real fiber-optic network will play in solving rural broadband problems.
"Thanks Jon, We are in agreement on your assessment of this situation. We are moving forward as fast as we can.
Atul is also moving forward on many fronts in relation to fiber. Remember, he's new :).
So, let's take a minute and give Atul and the Port Commissioners a big pat on the back and say thank you!
Now, onto the sad part (Please keep the good part in mind, cause it is very good):
In the meantime we should note that the City of Bellingham is still being as backward and difficult as possible when it come to their own feasibility study. They are asking for 6 times the amount the Port/PUD are using for basically the same study. They have NOT justified this obscene amount in any reasonable way and in general are NOT responsive to questions. They still have NOT met with the Mount Vernon IS department who designed and actually run the network in Mount Vernon. Instead, they call others in Mount Vernon and confuse the council into believing they are talking with Mount Vernon. Sure, they might be talking to someone at the City of Mount Vernon Public Works Department, but they are NOT talking to the people they really need to. You know, the people that actually run the network and they certainly aren't talking to anyone publicly and transparently. They are aware of this. This makes no sense. Are they worried that they'll learn something new and get the whole story before making a decision, for a change?
The county has been a bit more responsive and has assigned a Technology Advisor to their Business and Commerce Advisory Committee. However, neither the City of the County councils have had open, transparent, meetings about broadband. Yet they make serious decisions about it without getting all of the facts. Some of this stems from an unwillingness to learn about technology among our elected officials which is unacceptable in the modern age. So please keep this in mind when you vote. I will provide a voters' guide closer to the 2019 elections.
Still, the PUD and Port have a wide jurisdiction and we should be happy that they are moving forward. It would still make sense for the City and County to work with the Port and PUD on this issue, especially by establishing a Dig Once Policy so we can have better distribution of resources, but this is a big step forward. So thanks again to the Port and Atul of the PUD!
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