Inslee meets with local business, technology leaders in Wenatchee

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WENATCHEE- Governor Jay Inslee is traveling around the state this week to listen and learn about state-wide broadband needs and solutions.

Inslee was in both Quincy and Wenatchee yesterday afternoon meeting with local business leaders, technology companies and government officials. Inslee said Wenatchee is at the forefront of broadband technology.

“I’m really excited to be here, this is the first place that people landed a plane flying across the Pacific and it’s one of the most successful communities in broadband access,” Inslee said. “I am very pleased with what you’ve been able to achieve and I’ve come as part of a state-wide broadband access tour.”

Inslee said he wanted to learn more about local successes in broadband access and share them throughout his three-day tour across the state.

“I’d also like some of your ideas on how to take the next steps on moving forward,” Inslee said.

Lorien Clemens of the new Wenatchee business PetHub, says broadband was a huge factor in relocating to Wenatchee.

“The broadband was a big deal for us because as an internet company, we needed it to be reliable, fast and at anytime because sometimes minutes count when you have a lost pet situation,” Clemens said. “We had to be able to offer that to our clients that are across the country and across the world.”

Dimitri Mandelis, President of LocalTel Communications, says the Chelan County PUD is the force behind the area’s broadband success.

“The reason why I think we’re doing so well here with the broadband is because of the PUDs,” Mandelis said. “Before the fiber project we were a small 10-man company providing business services. Because of the fiber projects in Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties we have about 26,000 customers. Pretty much all of them came from a competing company or new in the area.”

Mandelis cited low power prices and the ability to provide affordable service helped contribute to LocalTel’s strong customer base.

Inslee says rapid technological innovation is transforming every job, company and industry in Washington, and broadband service has become one of the most critical infrastructure priorities of the 21st century.