Public officials and a growing crop of start up organizations have been busy exploring new ways to diversify the local economy. The biggest profit, they believe, will come from expanding internet access and capacity to attract and keep the would-be entrepreneurs in the area. This also goes for reeling in consultants and satellite offices for the already established Silicon Valley tech companies.
Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County’s Supervisor, is pushing to create a comprehensive broadband policy overhaul that he hopes will help generate both regular streamlining of new business and bring more infrastructure to Surf City. Sacramento is watching the city’s progress closely for an insight to how they can also be successful in creating more revenue and their looking after their statewide economic development model.
Santa Cruz County varies dramatically from the 60,000 person metro areas to lower-income, rural communities like the surrounding Watsonville. Mr. Friend maintains that more broadly available and high quality internet access could help expand economic opportunity to those in that region, giving more jobs and thus a return in supply and demand in the area.
Infrastructure, however, is hard to come by. According to Friend, Santa Cruz County is one of the most difficult to get permits for business in, and there’s no real incentive for doing so.
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