By Martin J. Kidston
Maintaining its roots while leading the state into the technological future is one of the goals suggested for the city of Havre as it evolves over the next 10 years.
Rising from a heritage founded in agricultural and railroad industries, Dick King of the Long Range Planning Committee told the City Council on Monday, that Havre should continue to treasure its past, while embracing the technological wave of the future. If it doesnt, King implied, the city could remain stagnant and fail to collect its share of wealth rooted in Internet commerce.
Like it or not, this is the new economy, King said. It really gets to the core of what we are, and what we hope to be.
By tapping into the technological knowledge at Montana State University-Northern, King said- the city should work toward establishing a connected downtown region. Doing so would make it attractive to prospective businesses, giving Havre a promising future.
Recently, the citys economy received an invisible boost when InfoMine, a popular Internet service, invested in a high-tech phone line and installed it in the Ryan Building home of Bear Paw Development and other local businesses. The line, referred to as a T-1 Broadband Internet Line, means high speed, high-capacity information that permits on-line business and fast service.
Your standard phone line can only carry so much data, where a T-1 line is much, much bigger, King said. He likened the T-1 to a bigger pipe, capable of higher flows.
If youre a small pipe and youre trying to do business on the Internet, it can be very frustrating, King said. So for a business, the T-1 is a big boost.
Due to the upgrade, any business in the Ryan Building can now benefit by tying into the high-speed service. Anybody out of the loop is left in the dust, struggling with slower systems.
One of the visions we have for Havre would be to get the entire downtown community connected with a high-speed network, King said. We need the infrastructure to create that.
Creating the infrastructure, King said, could attract other businesses to the area who rely on high speed networking systems to transfer information. New businesses mean more money, and more money ensures that Havre survives the technological transition from the 20th to the 21st century.
Installing high-speed networks can be costly, but King said many companies are willing to pay for them if the attraction is great enough. InfoMine, for example, installed the high-tech lines in the Ryan Building through a partnership with the Internet Business Incubation Center at MSU-Northern. The center was established in 1997 to help both existing and start-up businesses access the Internet for business purposes.
Because of Havres size, King said, it makes the logistics of cable conversion easier and less costly than similar projects in larger cities. Add to that Havres way of life, and the city has an attractive lure for companies looking to invest.