On March 15, 2019, a group of about 70 Northern Santa Barbara County economic stakeholders gathered at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott for an status on the activities of the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), perspectives on the need and urgency of forward-looking tri-county broadband development, and an update on Northern Santa Barbara County broadband.
BCPC Chairman Bruce Stenslie and Executive Director Bill Simmons shared an overview of the Consortium, its progress, and current activities. A panel discussing the importance, urgency and recommended considerations of tri-county broadband development were comprised of Mike Petit, Assistant CEO, County of Ventura; Steve Blum, President, Tellus Venture Associates; and Tim Williams, CEO/Founder, Digital West. A Northern Santa Barbara broadband service roll-out and success for the City of Santa Maria was described by Jason Stilwell, City Manager. Kyle Schaeffer, Director IT Infrastructure of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, described the Chumash challenges of connecting numerous tribal business locations in three geographical areas and how these challenges were successfully addressed. Kevin Sparkman, General Operations Manager, Excelty Corporation in Buellton, spoke to how important broadband is to companies looking at sitting businesses or operations, and two key reasons for its criticality: cloud-based applications keeping businesses competitive and employee telecommuting.