Rec and Tech views fiber optics as another county attribute

Debra Moore
Staff Writer


As Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications continues to roll out its fiber optic line, an effort is underway to control expectations.

Yes, someday it may bring high-speed Internet to most residents’ doorsteps, but for now the utility is focusing on businesses, establishing hotspots for residents and tourists to access, and linking the communities.

“We are trying to make sure that each area has a hot spot pocket,” Bob Marshall said during a Rec and Tech meeting Feb. 27.

Marshall, who is the general manager of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, ticked off a number of specific areas that have or soon will have fiber optics and high-speed Internet.

A corridor runs through Portola and Quincy, with plans eventually for Chester and Greenville.

The fairgrounds and this summer’s High Sierra Music Festival are among the highest priorities for Marshall. The event draws 10,000 people to the area and Marshall said he wants them to leave with one message: “You don’t have to go back.”

That’s the mission of Rec and Tech — bring people here for the recreation and lifestyle, then keep them here with technology that allows them to work remotely.

Rec and Tech is a cooperative effort between Marshall and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications, and Audrey Ellis, executive director of the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce.

Ellis and John Steffanic, who is the fairgrounds manager, and also owns his own promotions company, are focusing on public relations locally and marketing the concept to visitors.

“Fiber optics should be packaged like hiking and fishing,” Steffanic said. “We want to make sure that it’s part of the list of attributes.”

Steffanic cautioned that “Rec and Tech is not the savior of our economy,” but it’s a piece of it.

While residents might focus on high-speed Internet for their homes, Steffanic said it’s also about what it means to the county as a whole.

If it drives tourism and encourages more people to move here, it means a more vibrant economy and increased property tax and sales tax revenues.

“That leads to potholes being fixed, more sheriff’s deputies and a better quality of life,” Steffanic said.

A variety of tools are being used to market Rec and Tech, including brochures, trade shows and videos.

Phil Hewitt, of Seventh Victory Imaging, is producing a video/commercial for Rec and Tech, but an amateur video is now available as well.

Rec and Tech hosted a video contest and Abby Marshall’s winning video can now be viewed on the website

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