An increasing number of local communities in Colorado are finding ways to improve rural connectivity. The Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a cooperative bringing electricity to approximately 28,000 members in southwest Colorado, is in the midst of Elevate, their Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network that will connect all co-op members. We’ve brought co-op Board Members John Gavan and Brad Harding on the show this week to talk about the project and DMEA.
This conversation describes how and why the project got started and the plans for the future. Cooperatives are member organizations and this story is an example of a member-driven project that started when the community chose to improve their future. Significant employment losses in the region had the potential for widespread ripple effects and community members saw high-quality connectivity as a must for economic development.
John and Brad also discuss how the project is part of a larger effort to cope with the loss of electricity demand due to local job losses in the coal industry and a desire to stay on the cusp of innovation. With new infrastructure, the cooperative is investigating ways to offer such enhancements as electric vehicle charging and energy storage. They’ve also been taking a second look at local renewable energy generation facilities and wholesale contracts. DMEA and its members are taking new steps in self-reliance.
DMEA has produced a short video on the Elevate project:
In an exciting milestone, this is podcast 100000000. Or 256 in decimal – you know, for the squares. While at the always-amazing Mountain Connect event in Colorado, I snagged an interview with Doug Seacat of Deeply Digital and Clearnetworx. They sought a grant from the Colorado Broadband Fund to deploy fiber and wireless to underserved Ridgway in western Colorado. What happened next is shocking but hardly an anomaly. Using what is often called the “Right of First Refusal,” where incumbents get to prevent competition in state broadband programs, CenturyLink not only blocked Clearnetworx from getting the grant but got itself a hefty subsidy for a very modest improvement in services.Ridgway residents went from almost certainly having a choice in providers and gigabit access to seeing their taxpayer dollars used to not only make competition less likely but also effectively blocking the gig from coming to everyone in town. In this interview, we discuss the details. Read the transcript of the show here.We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.This show is 20 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Bonus episode! We did several interviews while at the Broadband Communities Summit and Dallas, so we are publishing two episodes this week. Diane Kruse joined us for today's discussion, episode 253, with an update about progress around community broadband in Colorado and great advice for communities considering an investment.Diane is the CEO and President of NeoConnect, a consulting firm located in Colorado that works with communities around the country. We discuss realistic expectations for the nearly 100 communities that have voted to restore their authority to build and partner for better Internet networks.We also discuss the range of options from doing nothing to building the full citywide fiber-optic network that Longmont is currently completing. Our interview touches on everything from incremental approaches to shadow conduit. Read the transcript of the show here.We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.This show is 35 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.