Already, the city is rife with high-tech industry, the most famous company being Right Now Technologies. We also have TechRanch and a number of Montana State University–fueled startup incubators and spinoffs. (The university has done quite well for itself in the area of tech transfer.)
Now the city wants to bring more high-tech businesses to the area in hopes of increasing tax revenue and stopping the so-called “brain drain” that sees many of the state’s college graduates leave Montana for higher paying jobs elsewhere. It doesn’t hurt that there’s this sometimes-referred-to notion that Bozeman is the next Silicon Valley.
While all this boom hype is going on, there’s another side to the high-tech world. We live in a rural place, one with mountains and other harsh terrain that makes it hard for people to get access to broadband Internet access. Sure, researchers like Richard Wolff at MSU, who I profiled for the upcoming Mountains & Minds magazine, are looking into ways to use advanced wireless technologies to get broadband across that “last mile” and to rural homes, many people in the state remain on dial-up or without Internet access of any kind.
Amid all the excitement over high-speed and high-tech, what about the people who don’t have access?
I hope to answer that question over the next few months as I research and report on what I hope will turn into a series for the Chronicle. We’ll have to see how it goes. Maybe I’m imaging things. Maybe there is no problem at all, and everything is hunky-dory.
In the meantime, I’m blogging about what I find over at Broadband in Montana. Read up and please comment. I’d love to be pointed to resources I don’t know about.