Montezuma County information technology director Jim McClain told Mancos trustees on Wednesday a county-wide broadband Internet project could supply Mancos residents with bandwidth of one gigabyte per second.
McClain discussed the county’s Fiber to the Premises project, which seeks to bring high-speed broadband Internet service to every county resident.
“The county is way behind the rest of the state” in terms of Internet speed, McClain said.
Mancos trustees voted to contribute $4,100 to a feasibility study on the project, which is examining bringing fiber to Mancos, Dolores, Towaoc and unincorporated county areas. The price of the study is based on the number of addresses in a region, costing $6.50 per address.
The project would see a broadband node located in Mancos, which would supply high speed to town residents, McClain said. Fiber lines could be hung along utility poles that are already in place, he said.
“It’s like building a road,” McClain said. “We’re taking advantage of what’s already there.”
Bringing broadband Internet to rural areas is an issue not only in Colorado but also around the nation, he said. With an increased number of residents operating businesses out of their homes in Mancos, providing those citizens with fast service is important, McClain added.
The Mancos Board of Trustees passed a resolution March 9 urging citizens to vote in favor of authorizing the town to opt out of Senate Bill 152. The bill requires local government to seek voter approval before providing telecommunications services. It also prevents municipalities from entering into private-public partnerships or expanding networks to provide those services. Voters will decide April 5 whether the town can be free from the binds of the bill.
Opting out of the bill would give Mancos more opportunities to use its 3,300 feet of fiber optics line, including hooking up to the county’s plan in the future. The fiber lines hook up only to public buildings right now, said Mancos Town Administrator Andrea Phillips. The town can’t offer broadband Internet service to businesses or residents, she said.