Town Takes Broadband Buildout Into Its Own Hands

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Estes Park is embarking on a $24 million broadband project, and recently the Town Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion that will, “speed up the process of picking and choosing contractors,” reported the Trail Gazette. The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem can now sign broadband contracts over $100,000 without the full Board’s approval.

“The reason we’re doing this is because we strongly believe it’s going to speed up the process of building out the [underground] for the broadband system,” said Light and Power Line Superintendent Joe Lockhart.

The broadband project, approved in March by the Board, came after years of overwhelming community-wide support for the initiative to take back local jurisdiction over the implementation of a fiber optics network, according to the Gazette.

Shortly after Estes Park voted to opt-out of Colorado Senate Bill 152 in 2015 to reclaim local authority over its telecommunications, the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded the town a $1.4 million broadband engineering grant. From there, the town worked with consulting companies and town utilities to engineer designs and develop financial models.

According to Estes Park Public Information Officer Kate Rusch, two neighborhoods will receive service starting in the fourth quarter of 2019. Over the next few years, service will be added to other areas as well.

July 9, 2019

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