Diversification not Development was the key word that I found interesting in the Elko County Economic Diversification Authority that Elaine Barksdull runs in Elko, NV. She was inaugurating one of the building blocks in that diversification the day that I was there with a new citywide Wi-Fi Network in Elko, the first of its kind in the entire Frontier Telephone network in 24 states.
The new service started being planned when, as Denise Baumbach, SR VP and General Manager for the Western Region of Frontier told me, “The company announced funding for ten such networks across the USA a year ago. It was a way for us to offer a big-city service into rural America. Elko was first because of the wonderful collaboration of the city manager, CFO of the county, the mayor and city council and Elaine Barksdull who coordinated all of the efforts. It was refreshing to see a community with a leadership that shared a common vision and got the job done.”
Mayor Mike Franzoia, known universally throughout the town as Mayor Mike, said, “Elko has always been a community of pioneers. Since 1868, when we were nothing more than a group of tents at the end of the Central Pacific Railroad, we have experienced the ups and downs of a growing frontier town—slowly but surely building the infrastructure and community services necessary to support our residents and businesses in a manner that has put Elko on the map as a city that is truly ‘in the middle of everywhere’”
The service, which will allow broadband wireless service anywhere within a five square mile service area (1st phase) to access the internet, goes live tomorrow morning in Elko. It’s an example of what a “can do” pioneering spirit can do when unleashed.