Washington state’s broadband guru on an internet moonshot and being a metaphorical prom king

Russ Elliott in his man-cave COVID-19 workspace. (Photo courtesy of Russ Elliott)

When a buddy of Russ Elliott‘s asked if he’d join him in starting a telecom company, he flat out said no. While his friend had been a great help building a website he needed, the venture didn’t have any financial backing and Elliott wasn’t versed in internet connectivity.

But when his friend took the unusual step of sending him a motivational postcard — something with an iceberg and a corny message about not knowing what’s out there unless you took a risk — it played on his mind. Elliott had an MBA. He had drive. He decided to embrace the inspirational cliché.

With that, some 20 years ago Elliott helped launch what became a successful business in Colorado called Brainstorm Internet, serving as its president for 13 years.

“We were nimble and quick and had smart people on our team and started DSL in our area,” Elliott said. They applied scrappy, creative solutions to deliver connectivity to rural areas in parts of Colorado and New Mexico.

 It certainly is a moonshot, but it is not unattainable.

There were other ventures mixed in, but the job with Brainstorm Internet wound up prepping him for his current role as the first director of the recently created Washington State Broadband Office, an organization within the state’s Department of Commerce. Elliott has the challenge of providing high-speed internet connectivity — 150 megabits per second for both downloading and uploading data — to all residents and businesses in the state by 2028.

“That really does set us on a different path. It is the most aggressive goal in the country today,” Elliott said. “It certainly is a moonshot, but it is not unattainable.”

He estimates that half of Washington’s population currently lacks fast,

Anti-Virus Software Guru John McAfee Arrested in Spain on U.S. Tax Evasion Charges

John McAfee

John McAfee, the cybersecurity pioneer who created the world’s first commercial anti-virus software, was arrested in Spain and charged with tax evasion, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

The British-born McAfee, 75, is facing extradition to the United States, where he is charged with tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns

The entrepreneur’s arrest came after an indictment from June 15, 2020, was unsealed Tuesday.

According to the indictment, McAfee allegedly evaded taxes by directing his income to be paid into the bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts “in the names of nominees,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee.

McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary, according to the indictment, the statement says.

From 2014 to 2018, McAfee “allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” it says.

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The indictment “does not allege that during these years McAfee received any income or had any or had any connection with the anti-virus company bearing his name,” the statement says.

McAfee attempted to evade the IRS by concealing assets, including real property, a vehicle, and a yacht, in the names of others, according to the indictment, the statement says.

If convicted, McAfee faces a maximum of five years in prison on each count of tax evasion and a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each count of willful failure to file a tax return,