SEBASTIAN – A half-dozen business owners and representatives sat down with County Commissioner Bob Solari Wednesday morning to share a cup of coffee and their thoughts.
One issue that arose is the lack of cable-Internet service in the north county, particularly on the north side of Sebastian.
About Kayaks Jim Liessmann broached the subject with the commissioner, explaining that the company is Internet-based and relies heavily on having that access to do business.
Located on Roseland Road near the Sebastian Municipal Airport, About Kayaks has its Internet service through a satellite company because neither Comcast Cable nor AT&T Uverse provide service to that area.
Both companies have franchise agreements to provide service to Indian River County.
About Kayaks, according to Liessmann, suffers due to lack of Internet connection from time to time.
“It’s more frequent than it should be,” he told Commissioner Solari.
Sebastian Vice Mayor Don Wrightl expanded on the complaint, noting that growth of the city’s airport services near Roseland Road is hampered due to a lack Internet infrastructure.
“It’s a big, big problem,” Wright said.
Solari, who admitted to not being the most up-to-date on technology, encouraged Liessmann, Wright and even Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Mitchell to write letters to the Board of County Commissioners outlining the technology problems.
“I’m no expert in this area,” Solari said.
He explained that the county has fiber optic lines that run along county roads in the north county but it has been reluctant to extend the lines for private business’s use.
“The county is understanding more and more the importance of technology,” Solari said. “The more we get pushed, the better.”
Suzy’s Tiki representative Mel Strahosky suggested to Liessmann that, in the meantime, About Kayaks could look into using cell-phone based Internet service to operate the business.
Strahosky explained that Suzy’s uses cell phones to provide merchant services and, when a computer connection is needed, they use an aircard provided by the cell phone service provider.
The small group, which met at the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, also discussed the importance of attracting jobs to Indian River County, the future of the county’s water and sewer service and other issues.
It was the first of a planned series of meetings called “Coffee with Bob” organized by Joe Coakley, from By the River.
After the gathering, Coakley said that he plans to hold more such meetings and later expand it to rotate the commissioners.