Slowly but surely businesses along the Main Street corridor in Cortez are jumping onto the citys Fiber to the Business bandwagon.
After the city finished building the first phase of the project, at least 150 companies, according to the city, purchased and are now connected to the citys fiber optic backbone via private service providers, such as Brainstorm Internet and Farmers Telecommunications.
This will have a huge impact on the local economy, and it will keep citizens spending dollars in Cortez, said City of Cortez Department of General Services Director Rick Smith. And feed more money here, potentially, from around the world.
For example, Unlimited Learning Center Inc. is hooked up to the network to teach students who live in other states, Smith said.
The citys new, open-services network allows companies to offer advanced services, such as broadband Internet and voice and communication systems, said Farmers Telecommunications General Manager Doug Pace.
What were seeing is that more and more businesses are requiring that upload speed to be increased, Pace said as an example of the kind of cloud computing Farmers offers on the citys Fiber to the Business network.
So many phone companies are updating their technology to provide this, Pace said.
Farmers Telecommunications, which has been providing broadband access in Cortez for 10 years, is CLEC, or Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, certified to provide advanced services on the citys new fiber optic network, Pace said.
It positions us to be able to give the customer the option to take more advanced services, Pace said.
Farmers has been in business in Dolores and Montezuma counties for 91 years, Pace said.
So weve seen it as an opportunity to continue to serve these rural communities and meet a need that theyve expressed to us that they have, Pace said.
Brainstorm Internet, a company that was not previously serving Cortez, paid for the construction to be connected to the citys fiberoptics after Packet Rail went out of business, said Brainstorm Internet President Russ Elliott.
Were very excited about being a player there, and were certainly seeing some uptake on folks over there who are interested in providing higher-speed access to their personal business and their networks (in Cortez), Elliott said from Durango.
The infrastructure has almost infinite capacity, its a really future-proof network versus copper network, Elliott said. They can add capacity to the fiber network as much as they can split light, and they split light more and more every day.
Elliott and Pace applauded Smith for sparking the citys Fiber to the Business project.
Its the genesis for something that could be big for Cortez in the future, Elliott said. Its not something that will be noticeable overnight, but this is infrastructure that will not be superseded by technology any time soon.
Video, security alarms, surveillance systems, digital signage and disaster recovery are services the citys Fiber to the Business allows companies to provide and to access, Smith said.
Even wireless technology needs fiber optics. We have an advantage right now: Businesses can move here, enjoy the quality of the land and do business in China at the same time. And the more people come, the more costs will lower, Smith said in reference to Fiber to the Business high-capacity fiberoptic ground network.
Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dena Guttridge said she hopes businesses can see and apply the potential of the citys Fiber to the Business project.
We dont have to wait for someone to walk into the storefront any more, Guttridge said. We havent even touched the potential of this. The doors are right there, all we have to do is push them open.
The state paid for most of the $1 million grant that allowed for Fiber to the Business to get off the ground.
The city paid $250,000 to finish the first phase of the project and is still selling fiberoptic connectivity to small businesses and homes for $150 and to medium-sized businesses for $175, Smith said.
Construction to the network has been suspended until spring, Smith said.
Reach Nathalie Winch at email@example.com.