Summit on broadband internet connectivity set June 13

June 6, 2018 GMT

Developing broadband Internet access is quickly gaining traction as one of the next big steps the Flathead Valley can take to become more hospitable to new business sectors and spur economic development.

To usher the valley one step forward in the process, officials from Montana West Economic Development and the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors are co-hosting a workshop to help local residents learn the ways other areas of the country are funding this infrastructure and what the benefits are.

Those who attend should expect to get an overview of the vocabulary used in the industry, understand the state of internet access in various parts of the Flathead and how current providers plan to invest in that in the near future, and all the various benefits associated with ushering our internet infrastructure into the modern age.

The goal of the event is to identify options to address the shortcomings of high-speed internet in the valley.

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Officials present will be well-versed on various public and private methods of funding upgrades to the system, and those present will be able to learn from them and add their opinions in how those options can be localized and used here in the Flathead Valley.

Presentations will be followed by breakout sessions and small group discussions to facilitate discourse and generate ideas in a more active setting.

The goal will be to create a foundation of different groups of people that will organize and move forward in implementing some of the ideas discussed.

Kate McMahon, a consultant with Applied Communications, LLC and Paul DeWolfe, president and founder of Access Consulting, will facilitate the conversations. Both firms are Missoula-based, and the two will be joined by staff from Montana West Economic Development.

The workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on June 13 in Room 139 of the Arts & Tech Building at Flathead Valley Community College.

The event is open to the public, though registration is recommended. To register, contact Dorothy at (406) 257-7711 or Dorothy@DoBusinessinMontana.com. Lunch will be provided.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.