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Broadband Update- August 2018

Broadband Update- August 2018

The Region 10 Broadband Project continues to develop the timelines for completion of the Carrier Neutral Locations (CNLs) and anchor builds in Hotchkiss, Paonia, and Cedaredge. Equipment installation has been completed at the Hotchkiss CNL at the County Annex and we are building out the fiber to connect to the regional network in partnership with DMEA. In Montrose County construction has wrapped up with the exception of the Olathe CNL and final fiber testing is underway for the county anchors. Additional sites that are being scheduled with the construction teams for completion by the end of September. The Olathe CNL is underway. Multiple last mile providers will be accessing this CNL to deliver both wireless and wired connectivity between Olathe and Delta and Montrose.

Construction from Nucla to Norwood is underway on a fiber connection to connect the Region 10 network to the San Miguel County project that will connect Nucla through Norwood and on to Telluride. Quotes for transport layer equipment are being prepared for the SMC project for 100G connectivity.

Permitting has begun for the CNL construction in Ridgway and final plans for the Ouray CNL have been completed. A review of conduit/fiber IRU and asset availability in both towns is underway with Clear Networx as planning is underway for the anticipated awarding of a USAC grant to construct approximately 30 miles of fiber from the Montrose Rec Center to the clinic in Ouray. Options for a temporary lit circuit to Ridgway are being explored in order to meet the requirements of the existing DOLA grant.   In Gunnison County, the Waste Water Treatment Plant electric project is underway which will involve the installation of middle mile fiber from the permanent CNL to the facility. This will include a fiber feed to Gunnison County Electric. The engineering and permitting process with CDOT is the first step in the process. CNL construction has begun with electrical design for HVAC and operational circuits in the space.

We have been in extended discussions with area providers looking to add to their route diversification. While no final agreements have been reached, we do anticipate some positive news in this area once we have finished the Delta County and Montrose County (Nucla) network extensions. We are also discussing a potential partnership that will provide a transport path to Albuquerque from Nucla. This connection has the potential to lower access costs further than originally planned while creating additional diversification opportunities.

Finally, Greg Winkler from the Department of Local Affairs shared the following information on Broadband funding status to date:

In 2013, the Department of Local Affairs launched a statewide Broadband Program to support the efforts of local governments to improve Broadband service to their constituents to achieve enhanced community and economic development.

The initiative: 

  • Promotes inter-jurisdictional communication
  • Supports better access to services available over Broadband, such as distance learning opportunities and telemedicine
  • Provides planning and middle mile infrastructure grants

Initially, $20M was set aside to assist local governments to fund these efforts.

As of the end of August 2018, we will have exhausted those dedicated funds.  In doing so DOLA and local government across the state developed over 20 strategic and sub-plans for the broadband implementation.  In addition, DOLA assisted 13 local governments in the development, construction, and acquisition of middle-mile broadband networks statewide.

Local governments and DOLA invested $2,217,773 and $2,993,168 respectively for broadband planning totaling $5,210,941.  Middle-mile projects that have been funded by local governments have totaled $17,678,842 and were matched with DOLA funding in the amount of $16,929,950. The total investment made for middle-mile projects is $34,608,792.  The total investment made by both local governments and DOLA for the Broadband Program over the last five years has been $39,819,733.

We understood when the initial dedication of funds was made that it was only a starting place for the statewide middle-mile effort and we are now looking to determine an estimate of the level of additional funds for the continued development, construction, and implementation of the middle-mile network. This collation of information is not intended to imply that there will be an additional dedication of funding by DOLA, but rather to understand what additional projects are being planned in the near term that may need assistance to come to fruition. It should also be noted that although DOLA no longer has dedicated broadband funding, those jurisdictions that have a broadband project that is ready to go should apply during a regular Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund cycle.  The request will be given the same consideration as all other applications to the fund.

In addition, we should all recognize the efforts by the Colorado General Assembly this year for the passage of SB-02 which allocated monies from the Colorado High-Cost Fund to the Broadband Deployment Board over the next five years for the installation of last-mile infrastructure and Broadband service by the private industry. Investments that have been made by DOLA and local governments in middle-mile infrastructure have made some of these last mile projects and services successful. This is the type of synergy that will bring broadband to every area of the State. 

These are exciting times in the development and deployment of open access middle mile networks in Colorado. We look forward to continuing to develop the physical infrastructure and the strategies necessary to enable our community and industry partners to meet the challenge of providing abundant, affordable access to gigabit broadband services.

Region 10 Posts Broadband Equipment RFP

Region 10 has re-posted its Request For Proposal for Network Equipment. Funding for this RFP includes software and licensing costs required to meet the minimum specifications for operational readiness during the first year of operations.

This Request for Proposal is to solicit proposals from qualified vendors who can provide the required network equipment to complete the Region 10 Middle Mile Network in Colorado. The network equipment will include layer 3 switches, routers, network monitoring equipment and software, and other related equipment. This is an equipment and installation bid.

This project is partially funded with Federal Funds from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration and therefore is subject to the Federal laws and regulations associated with that program.

Request for Proposal documents and details on the award process can be found on the Region 10 electronic bid site: www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado/Region 10leap;  or by emailing Chris Kennedy, Region 10 Broadband Project Director at chris@region10.net.

Broadband Update- Fall 2017

Broadband Update- Fall 2017

Notice of Final Settlement and Certification of Completion was issued for the Delta construction. Final construction audit is underway for the City of Montrose. Both communities are “live” and Anchor activations continue.

Region 10 and FastTrack Communications continue to develop operations planning while the Operations and Maintenance contract is under legal review. It is anticipated that the contract will be executed in mid-November.

The EDA Equipment Request for Proposal (RFP) draft was approved by Economic Development Administration (EDA) last week. The proposal has been published on the Rocky Mountain Bid Network and the pre-bid conference was completed Monday, October 2. In conjunction with the publishing of the RFP, the Tri-State Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) agreement is slated to be on the Tri-State board’s docket for their November board meeting.

In Gunnison County, the 10G circuit from CenturyLink has been installed tested and turned up. Region 10 Network equipment has been installed on the Western State campus and the link is active. Provisioning for use at the university is underway and live traffic should be underway in the next two weeks. Construction estimates for the Carrier Neutral Location’s (CNL) in Gunnison and Crested Butte will be finalized on Tuesday, October 3 for consideration by the Local Technology Group. Anchor construction estimates are being finalized and will be issued prior to the next Local Technology Group meeting.

Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) continues to work on easement perfections in Delta and Montrose counties and is making great progress. We are currently involved in discussions for fiber access at CNL locations in Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, and Crawford in an effort to eliminate overbuilding existing assets and further developing the partnership. We continue to work on construction estimates for Montrose County to add anchor locations and determine how best to partner to deliver service to Olathe, working together with the county and DMEA.

Fiber access options for Ridgway and Ouray continue to be explored with Zayo, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), Tri-State, and DMEA. An engineering order has been submitted for a 10Gbps wave from Montrose to Ridgway. We fully expect to complete CNL locations in both communities this year.

Region 10 issues broadband RFP

Region 10 issues broadband RFP

Region 10 LEAP is announcing a Request for Proposal to solicit proposals from qualified vendors who can provide the required network equipment to complete the Region 10 Middle Mile Network in Colorado. The network equipment will include layer 3 switches, routers, network monitoring equipment and software, and other related equipment. This is an equipment and installation bid.

This project will be partially funded with Federal Funds from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration and therefore is subject to the Federal laws and regulations associated with that program.

Request for Proposal documents and details on the award process can be found on the Region 10 electronic bid site: www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado/Region 10leap; Region 10’s Broadband website: www.Region10.net/Broadband; or by emailing Chris Kennedy, Region 10 Broadband Project Director at chris@region10.net.

Regional Broadband Update

Regional Broadband Update

Construction in Delta and Montrose has wrapped up and final review of each project is underway for official close out of the completed construction projects. Quotes for services have been provided to many of the community anchor institutions in these communities and are under review with their respective teams. Installations have occurred at several locations and live service is being delivered.

Region 10 and FastTrack Communications have entered into a partnership for delivery of Operations and Maintenance services. A Letter of Intent was signed on July 27th to begin service delivery while the contract is under legal review. Both Region 10 and FastTrack are excited about the partnership and are now working on network addressing engineering and design topology to deliver services to the end user.

For Gunnison County the 10Gbps wave (lit service) between Montrose and Gunnison has been commissioned, tested and certified as ready for turn-up by Century Link. Equipment for the Gunnison CNL is on order and will be installed at Western State temporarily as the CNL construction gets underway at the dispatch center. Once installed and tested end to end with Century Link we will immediately be able to provide service to the University in addition to backhaul services for ISP’s in the valley. We have also submitted the engineering order for the Montrose to Crested Butte 10Gbps wave in order to get a prospective turn-up date. The WAPA dark fiber IRU discussions continue to make progress as the WAPA team is involved in internal discussions in trying to assign a value to the resource and their operations. Western State and Bizon Networks continue to lead that process with assistance from the Region10 team.

DMEA continues to work on easement perfections in Delta and Montrose counties and is making great progress. We are currently involved in discussions for fiber access at CNL locations in Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, and Crawford in an effort to eliminate overbuilding existing assets and further developing the partnership. Since the last update, Montrose County has joined the project and we are working to add anchor locations and determining how best to partner to deliver service to Olathe, working together with the county and DMEA.

Fiber access options for Ridgway and Ouray continue to be explored with area partners. An engineering order has been submitted for a 10Gbps wave from Montrose to Ridgway. We fully expect to complete CNL locations in both communities this year.

Region 10 and Partners Lighting Up Broadband in Delta and Montrose Counties

Region 10, partners light up broadband

Photo by Pat Sunderland Officials from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta and Montrose county commissioners, Delta County Economic Development and Delta-Montrose Electric Association grab onto a fiberoptic cable as Irv Halter, DOLA executive director

In a symbolic gesture, state, county and city officials gathered to light up the fiberoptic cable that will deliver high speed broadband to both Delta and Montrose.

Phase one construction, and the building of the fiberoptic network in those two cities, is complete following more than three years of planning, engineering and construction.

“Today marks the start of affordable broadband for our communities,” said Delta Mayor Ed Sisson. “This regional access point in Delta is the culmination of many years, long hours and organizations working together to make it happen.”

The carrier neutral location is housed in the city’s municipal light and power building. It serves the Delta County Library District and soon, the school district. From that location, internet service providers can deliver gigabit speeds to businesses and residents.

Michelle Haynes, executive director for Region 10 League of Economic Assistance and Planning, said it’s fitting the lighting ceremony was held at ML&P, which generated the electricity that moved the community forward in the ’30s and ’40s. “Now this is where we’re locating one of our regional hubs, which will take our community into the next step, into the next century, and help us move forward with economic development.”

The collaborative effort began in 2013 with a planning grant from the Department of Local Affairs. In 2015, DOLA made a $5.2 million investment in the design and construction of a middle-mile system for the Region 10 network. The project became a reality with buy-in from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta County and Delta-Montrose Electric Association. Additional funds were provided by El Pomar Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, in recognition of the economic impact mine closures held for Delta and Gunnison counties.

“Now with the work of DMEA, we’re looking at gigabit-level service to every home in the Delta-Montrose county area in the next five to six years,” Haynes said.

Delta County commissioner Doug Atchley said the county committed $750,000 in the belief broadband is essential to economic development not only in Delta County, but all of western Colorado. He thanked all the partners for their vision and the push to make the project a reality.

“There’s lots more to do, but congratulations!” said Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs. “I can’t wait to see what this will do for your community as you move forward.”

He commented on one individual who did not attend the lighting ceremony on July 24, but is committed to connectivity across the state — Governor John Hickenlooper.

Phase two of the project, which is currently underway, will extend that connectivity to communities throughout Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

Local internet service providers (ISP’s) can leverage Region 10’s network to build strong business models to provide low-cost access for their customers. Region 10 explains gigabit broadband is the next-generation technology that enables the world of tomorrow, including telemedicine and telehealth, improved education and distance learning, more efficient and effective government, economic development and job creation, enhanced public safety, and smart grid and energy management systems.

Additionally, the network can be used by internet service providers, cellular companies, and phone and cable companies, to lower their costs and improve services.

In a press release issued last week, Region 10 broadband project director Chris Kennedy said, “Abundant, affordable, and reliable broadband services are no longer a luxury in rural areas, but are more like a utility like water or electricity. In terms of attracting and retaining businesses locally, we can now compete more effectively with other, larger urban areas.”

Region 10 Broadband in the News!

‘Middle mile’ fiber optics network up and running

A project to bring high-speed internet to select areas in Delta and Montrose counties started offering broadband services this week.

The Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning said those services have been deployed in the cities of Delta and Montrose, said Region 10 Broadband Project Director Chris Kennedy.

New fiber optic lines installed in the two cities as part of a larger grant program to provide high-speed internet to much of the Delta-Montrose-Gunnison region are designed to fill “the middle mile” between the internet as a whole and direct delivery to homes and businesses, Kennedy said.

“Local last-mile providers have an option now to access more affordable broadband so they can build a business case to offer broadband services to smaller, rural communities,” he said. “That’s the idea. It’s an open-access broadband network.”

Those providers would pay Region 10 and its partners, the cities and counties of Delta and Montrose, for the right to use its lines, but because it is a public-private project conducted by a nonprofit group, they will get cheap rates, which they can then pass on to their customers, Kennedy said.

After more than three years of work, phase one of construction of a fiber optic network through the two cities is complete. Phase two of the project will be to extend fiber optics throughout the region, including to the rest of Delta and Montrose counties, as well as to Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

The new network is available to local service providers to offer lower-cost access for their customers, Kennedy said.

The network connects area schools, hospitals, libraries and city and county offices.

This project is being done in conjunction with a similar one being implemented by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

That project is attempting in its first phase to connect about 7,500 homes and businesses, focusing first on south Montrose, Paonia and Orchard City. Cedaredge also just recently joined the ranks of cities with fast internet, according to DMEA. Once completed, the project not only will augment the middle-mile needs of the area, but also act as a direct internet service provider.

It also will be able to offer fast connection speeds, up to one gigabit, at rates cheaper than seen here in the Grand Valley, Kennedy said.

“DMEA is sharing fiber with us, and we’re sharing some fiber with them in order to help them deliver services, and for us to then be able to take a regional approach outside their original footprint,” he said. “Then we’re looking to establish (connections) in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Ridgway and Ouray. Farther down the line, we’re working with San Miguel County.”

Broadband Update: From Concept to Reality

Broadband Update:  From Concept to Reality

As construction wraps up in the cities of Delta and Montrose and as detailed engineering activities are completed in the Phase 2 communities in Gunnison, Delta and Ouray counties, the concept of a regional broadband network connecting community anchor institutions to a robust fiber optic broadband network is moving off the pages of concept and planning to physical deployment of infrastructure at a rapid pace. With the recent issuance and award of a Request for Proposal for network equipment core routing and access, electronics are being tested and installed at the Delta and Montrose Carrier Neutral Locations and anchor institutions in those communities.  Partner agreements continue to be negotiated and executed and excitement is building in the region as we get closer to lighting up the network.

DMEA and Region 10 recently executed their Indefeasible Rights of Use agreements, a key component in the delivery of middle mile broadband throughout the region. Conversations continue with other regional partners to acquire assets that deliver diversity and redundancy to the network.

Stay tuned for more….

Where are we with broadband now?

Where are we with broadband now?

The first quarter of 2017 has shown significant progress with the Region 10 Middle Mile Broadband project.  More than two years ago, recognizing the impact of the lack of adequate broadband services, Region 10 members requested and received funding from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to complete a broadband implementation plan. As a result, an innovative and cost-effective plan was developed to improve the broadband infrastructure within the Region. Since then the project has gained momentum and construction is underway in multiple communities in Delta and Montrose Counties.

The spring and summer of 2017 will see advances in engineering and construction in the Phase 2 communities that include Gunnison and Ouray counties and their member municipalities. We continue to fine tune the project plan in partnership with our members to meet changing environmental factors and member expectations. With the support of our partners Region 10 expects to complete regional construction by years’ end.

“Implementing projects of this size and complexity is a combination of art and science” says Chris Kennedy, Region 10 Broadband Project Director. “Developing relationships, identifying options and executing the vision are what make each and every day exciting and rewarding. The Region stands to benefit greatly with a needed addition to its economic development toolset” Kennedy added.

We look forward to sharing much more in the upcoming months as the vision takes physical shape and the region begins to experience positive results once the network is fully implemented. To keep track of progress, please visit https://www.region10.net/regional-development/broadband/

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