The city’s Internet connection will get more reliable this summer after a Pagosa Springs company builds a new wireless connection for local government use.
The Cortez City Council unanimously approved the Internet project on Tuesday.
The cost of bringing the wireless service to the city and Montezuma County is about $57,000. The county would pay for about $28,000.
The city already has a fiber network that serves government functions including police dispatch, Montezuma County jail and Southwest Memorial Hospital, said City Manager Shane Hale.
“If it goes down, it really could be life or death,” he said.
The fiber network did go down for five hours on Jan. 31, which shows the need for a backup system, according to city documents.
The company the city hired, SkyWerx builds high-speed microwave links, and it is working on expanding their network through out the region.
The company’s wireless network is tied into a fiber system that is separate from the one the town of Cortez uses.
Montezuma County is also exploring expanding fiber connectivity in rural areas and the city would like to work with them on that project, Hale said.
This project currently in its very early stages, and the county does not have a plan to fund it yet, said planning director LeeAnn Milligan.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the city council also approved a memorandum of understanding with the Montezuma Inspire Coalition. The city is a member of the coalition of 18 groups that was formed last fall.
The group’s purpose is to help kids explore the outdoors and discover activities they enjoy. The effort received a $75,000 planning grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to help support the work.
The city has committed $2,000 in matching funds to the project, but this was separate from the memorandum.
After the 18-month planning period, which will involve the community and youth, the coalition could be eligible for $1 million to $5 million additional grant funding to build projects or fund programs, said Dean Palmquist, the parks and recreation director.
“I hope we’re very diligent and careful that we continue a lot of these programs after the grant is up,” he said.