As the saying goes, there's surfing and then there's surfing. For example, on your way from Kahului Airport to Wailea, home of such resorts as the Grand Wailea, you'll pass through the town of Kihei. There's high-speed surfing on the waves at Kihei and high-speed surfing on the Web, not far from the base of 10,023-foot Haleakala. Here, you'll find a 330-acre parcel of land that can have a big impact on your meeting's technological options. It's called Maui Research and Technology Park (MRTP) and it is home to the Maui High Performance Computing Center (operated by the U.S. Air Force), the Hawaii Telecommunications Information and Resource Center, and the Maui Research & Technology Center (MRTC), which provides connectivity and communication services.

For these tenants, MRTC has installed not just a fiber-optic network, but also an OC48 very-high-performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), the same kind AT&T uses for transcontinental IP service. This fiber connection is capable of transmitting data at 2.45 Gbps. (That's 2.4 billion bits per second, compared with 1.5 million bits per second for a T1 line.) Also at the MRTP is an ISP, Maui Net, offering Internet access and support; GST Telecom Hawaii, a private provider of communications products and services; and a host of incubator companies, including one (Premier Image Productions) that specializes in virtual-reality video production.

Thanks to MRTP, meeting and event organizers will find that all kinds of high-end connectivity and communication services are just a phone call away. To learn more about MRTC, call Duane Kim, program manager, at (808) 875-2432.

Actually, the entire state of Hawaii is a pretty tech-friendly place. Conference organizers looking for potential attendees would do well to check out the Hawaii Technology Trade Association (www.htta.org), the state's first private-sector trade association for its growing technology industry, and it just opened a Maui chapter last June. --