Broadband meeting on Tuesday in Blountstown

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Gadsden County part of high-speed Internet project

     Two centuries ago, Blountstown, on the  western bank of the Apalachicola River was a center for trade.   Local Native Americans bartered goods to English and American trading companies and those goods flowed north to Columbus, Ga. and south to the Gulf of Mexico, for distribution throughout North America and Europe.  

     Today, those rivers of commerce flow at speeds measured in “nanoseconds” rather than “knots” through  worldwide broadband connections that can allow business and industry to  flourish and public agencies to effectively operate in places like rural Florida.

     Blountstown  will once again play a part in a “new economy” as the location of the first Florida Rural Broadband Alliance / Opportunity Florida high speed broadband Technology Indoctrination Seminar. 

     The seminar, more affectionately termed  “Geek Day” will  convene on Tuesday, April 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the Blountstown Public Library.  Featuring  broadband and wireless experts, including equipment manufacturers, system designers and engineering personnel, the seminar will provide  a preview of thenew Florida Rural Broadband Alliance (FRBA) network, which includes Gadsden County.  

    Rapid Systems, a Tampa  based broadband Internet network design, engineering, deployment and operations company will lead the technical orientation and network discussion.  Opportunity Florida,  a nine-county economic development support organization (which includes Gadsden County) and co-owner of FRBA, will co-host the meeting. 

   Conducted primarily for all Information Technology (IT)  personnel in an eight-county region served by Opportunity Florida,  this orientation seminar will provide technical details about the high speed broadband wireless system and how to access the network which is now under construction.

    “Our primary targets are Community Anchor Tenants (CAIs), including hospitals,  school districts,  public safety agencies and other state and local government,” says Rick Marcum, Executive Director of Opportunity Florida.   “However, anyone interested in access to broadband, including business and industry, is welcome. The meeting is open to the public,” added Marcum.

   “Major equipment experts and vendors, including Cisco are expected to attend and participate in the presentations,”  says Dustin Jurman, President and “hands-on” CEO of Rapid Systems.  “The event is being held to explain this new generation of wireless technology, equipment, capabilities and applications used in the Florida Rural Broadband Alliance, LLC, broadband network.”  

   Following the technical discussion and a “shake and break” equipment orientation, a field trip will be conducted at the Clarksville Internet Point of Presence (POP).  Clarksville is just west of Blountstown and is one of a number of Internet interconnection points for the Florida Rural Broadband Alliance network. 

    “All those responsible for information technology, utilization and cost in the Opportunity Florida service area are urged to attend,” says Marcum.  Eight of the nine Opportunity Florida counties to be served by the FRBA network include Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson,  Liberty and   Washington. 

   Though the meeting is open to the public, space is limited.  Those planning to participate  should confirm by contacting Rick Marcum at  850-718-0453 or by e-mailing rickmarcum@opportunityflorida.com.   The April 10 meeting will begin  at 9:30 a.m. in the library located at 17731 Ne Pear St (FL SR 69) ,  in Blountstown. Lunch will be provided.