Sedalia as the ‘Silicon City of the Prairies?’

By Travis McMullen - Contributing Columnist

You probably read Sedalia Democrat reporter Nicole Cooke’s story in Tuesday’s edition of the paper about a new first responder network that will soon be implemented and tested right here in Sedalia and Pettis County.

First Responder Network Authority (I can see why they call it FirstNet for short, that’s undoubtedly the best abbreviation you could pull out of that.) was established in 2012 as a rider on a bill about middle class tax relief and job creation. I guess if you create an impressive new network for your first responders than you’re going to need people to work on it, so maybe this initiative has plenty to do with job creation.

In this modern world, technology is making our lives better each and every day – each new decade is filled with more progress than the last. The collected information of the world is at our fingertips, and new communication channels open each day. But even the best current technologies can eventually be improved and they should be improved, especially for the people who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. Don’t they deserve the best?

So that’s why it’s very exciting to see a business like Persistent Telecom come here and offer us the chance to be one of the first communities in the country to experience a new level of first responder communication capability. They want to do something innovative and exciting and maybe even highly valuable to local emergency services and law enforcement agencies and they want to do it right here in the State Fair City.

Why do they want to do it here? Well, who doesn’t love Sedalia? This excerpt from Cooke’s story seems to reveal the biggest reason: “Gamble told the Democrat after Thursday’s presentation that the company searched the country for affordable LTE spectrum licenses and found four, one being in Sedalia.” Gaze upon our affordable LTE spectrum license! My spectrum doesn’t have a license; it doesn’t even have a leash. Illegal spectrum operation is frowned upon.

And there seems to be another reason, too. Sedalia is a good place to beta test and tweak your new communication technology because you will get to deploy it in both normal Sedalia with normal amounts of communication and car traffic and State Fair Sedalia, where everything will probably be pushed to its limits. With two very different city situations to test in and only one network to set up it all seems perfect to me.

I’ve got no doubt that the current communications system employed by Sedalia’s network of first responders works reasonably well for what they need it to do but it could be even better, and we could be the proving ground for the next great technological advancement in emergency communications. Imagine it going excessively well and people casually calling it the Sedalia System as it is rolled out all over the country. This is where they want to plant the seed!

So this goes out to all the local first responder organizations: do the proper research on Persistent Telecom and make sure their intentions are clear. Make sure that they mean it when they insist that that this system will be developed at little or no cost to you and the taxpayers of Sedalia and Pettis County. If everything is as it should be then I highly encourage you to participate fully in this exciting new initiative. It would be good for your communication capabilities, and good as a way to continue to establish Sedalia as a great place to test new things.

Imagine Sedalia, a reasonable Midwestern tech town where all sorts of companies come to test and develop their impressive new technologies. Sedville could maybe be America’s showroom of the future. If it will work here, it can work anywhere: The Silicon City of the Prairies!

By Travis McMullen

Contributing Columnist

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

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