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Rec and Tech aims for the public

Carolyn Shipp
Staff Writer

The concept of Lost Sierra Rec and Tech can be a muddled one for the people of Plumas County. When they hear the phrase “rec and tech,” they often think it means high-speed Internet access at their home and nothing more.

That’s what John Steffanic, owner of Sierra Promotions and the public relations coordinator for Rec and Tech, said at a meeting of the minds at work on the project July 10.

Steffanic walked through a Rec and Tech public relations plan for the more than 25 public figures in attendance.

“Public relations has nothing to do with selling or expanding the product,” he said in his presentation. “It does, however, plow the way for a more effective marketing effort.”

In 2010, Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications received a stimulus grant to put fiber optics in the infrastructure all over the county. Since then, a small group has been working to market Plumas, Lassen and Sierra counties under the banner of Lost Sierra Rec and Tech.

According to Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications General Manager Bob Marshall, the fiber optics project brought with it “a chance to reverse the population decline” by attracting new residents with home-based businesses that only need reliable and fast broadband access.

“There are millions of people who can live anywhere they want,” said Marshall. “We want to attract self-contained businesses here.”

In order to start marketing the idea to the right people, Steffanic said first the public has to be on board.

“We want to make sure the public in our county has a grasp of what’s going on,” he said. “They can be our salesmen.

“Fiber optics is only one more amenity to the area,” he continued. “The one product we’ve always had is our way of life … The key to our message is that fiber optics folds right into all the reasons as to why someone would like to relocate here.”

Steffanic addressed the differences between Rec and Tech and getting fast Internet in your home. He said there is some negative feedback because people have been disappointed at the cost of getting fiber into their homes.

“If you want fiber in your home, contact PST,” he said. “But if we’re trying to woo businesses up here and the public is sending a negative message because of the cost … the public needs to know it’s two very different situations.”

Marshall chimed in as well, saying an established business person could sell his or her $2 million house in the Bay Area and move to a $250,000 house that is just as nice in Plumas County. The cost to install and run the extremely fast Internet is nominal compared to living in the peaceful mountains and still being able to thrive as a business.

He continued to say that the message is not that everyone gets fiber, “the message is the infrastructure is here.”

Steffanic said the marketing plan will take effect in a few months. They previewed a commercial and a few interviews to show examples of the group’s marketing campaign. However, for right now, the goal is to get the public’s support.

“We want to grow our community back,” said Marshall. “All we want to do is get where we were 10 years ago.”

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