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Could Ketchikan attract Google?
By Rick Grams


October 01, 2005
Saturday PM

Reading the news today I became a little envious of people who live in San Francisco.  Google has partnered with the San Francisco city government to implement a city-wide wireless Internet presence. (Story)

What makes it so fascinating is the fact that nearly every technological gadget built in the past 3 years has wireless capability included!
Naturally this plan will run into some barriers, and local Internet companies are likely to scream something about unfair competition, but that will all be smoke and mirrors in the bigger picture.  The real picture of the world as it evolves will be the ease in which we can communicate.  A wireless Internet capability provides a backbone for a new era of individual communications.  Imagine making a phone call from your wireless enabled PDA for free instead of paying that ever increasing cell phone bill.  Or think how nice it would be to send live images of your son or daughter to their grandparents.  Educationally, all the people attending UAS and other universities through the Internet would benefit enormously from this type of capability.  The capabilities of this prospect goes on and on and on in my mind.
However, the technology aspect is not the point of my comments here.  What I really want to discuss is why the leaders of our local governments do not attempt to solicit this kind of interest in Ketchikan?  We all see how the cruise line industry is a constant focus, so why not expand that concept into other areas of economic opportunities?  How can a beautiful place like Ketchikan reach out to the big companies and offer our hometown area as a platform for testing new and exciting projects such as the one Google and the City of San Francisco are working toward?  Simple, we need to get involved.  We need to stop waiting for opportunity to come to Ketchikan and seek out partnerships to bring the opportunities to Ketchikan.
Perhaps with newly elected governments we can look beyond the areas of traditional economic interests and explore other interests that our elected officials may not be so familiar with.  The creation of committees or workgroups consisting of local experts in the field would help to facilitate the exploration of future possibilities.
As we all keep looking for ways to improve our economy without destroying our environment I hope that these ideas can be shared to create a new starting point, a new direction for the Ketchikan economy.
Rick Grams
Ketchikan, AK - USA




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