More than anything else, it’s been said that in order to build a greater sense of vitality in the city, Spokane needs to attract young, urban professionals. But how do we attract the jobs in technology, high-tech manufacturing, and biomedical development which they require? Perhaps with something like gigabit Internet. You know, that startlingly fast network that Google is building out in Kansas City (and now Austin, TX and Provo, UT)? Spokane should attempt to build something similar for consumers and businesses alike.
Spokane certainly has the technological know-how. It developed the first major municipal WiFi network, the HotZone, spanning 100 blocks of downtown. Together with nonprofit and private partners, it built out the Terabyte Triangle, an innovative technology cluster once called “forward-looking” and “cutting-edge.”
If Spokane wants to move forward, it should look at building out or contracting with a partner to build out a gigabit internet network. I mean, just look at Seattle’s Gigabit Squared project. (Although that project has apparently since died, it represented a forward-looking vision for the city.) It’s time we developed something similar.