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Broadband Blueprint

Region 10 seeks to hire Regional Broadband Project Manager

Region 10 seeks to hire Regional Broadband Project Manager

Region 10 is considering applicants for the Regional Broadband Project Manager to provide support in implementation of the regional broadband plan, and to provide assistance to the region’s counties and municipalities in developing broadband services within their communities.  The regional plan and additional information is available at  Consideration of qualifications for the position include experience in the development of broadband networks, including funding, sales, contract management and compliance.  Please send a letter of interest, resume and salary requirements to or via mail to: Region 10, 300 N Cascade, Montrose, CO 81401.


Region 10 Regional Broadband Implementation Project Manager

In recognition of the importance of affordable access to adequate broadband services, Region 10 has developed a regional broadband implementation plan, available at  To assist in implementing the plan, and continuing to support the region’s counties and municipalities in developing broadband services within their communities, Region 10 is now considering applications for the Regional Broadband Project Manager.

The manager will be responsible for oversight and implementation of the Region 10 plan, as well as work with local counties, communities, and ISPs to assist in coordination and funding of broadband efforts. Specifically, the requirements and scope of work would include:

  • Understanding of broadband technology, terminology and implementation methodology.
  • Meet with interested counties and communities to understand the demand, gaps in service, and the most effective means of ensuring adequate service levels throughout the communities and region.
  • Understand and educate counties, communities and stakeholders on legislative issues, concerns and strategies to improve support of rural broadband services.
  • Coordinate and conduct meetings as needed to inform local stakeholders and partners on implementation strategies within the region.
  • Represent the region as needed in state-wide meetings concerning rural broadband development.
  • Work with regional ISPs and anchor institutions to promote understanding of the project and partnership and participation opportunities.
  • Participate with the consulting, engineering, construction and management organizations that are involved in the Region 10 implementation plan.
  • Oversight of data collection and preparation of reports as needed for grant funding partners.
  • Collect base-line service data and assist in development of matrix and collection of data to determine success of the project, including current service availability and pricing, compared to the same after implementation, participation by local governments, ISPs, anchor institutions, etc., and other data determined to be useful in measuring the impact of the project.

Consideration of qualifications for the position would include experience in the development of broadband networks, including funding, sales, contract management and compliance. Ability to show experience in similar projects, innovative efforts or approaches that the vendor has previously implemented, or experience and understanding of the regional project will also be considered.

Broadband Update (June 17, 2016)

Broadband Update (June 17, 2016)

Going forward, Region 10 and the Broadband Planning Committee will be routinely updating on the current state of this regional project. If you would like to receive email alerts of these updates, click the subscribe button below, enter your email address, and select the “Broadband” box.

June 17, 2016

NEO Connect and Actavo are currently working with the Cities of Delta and Montrose to complete final preparations and design efforts prior to network construction. Invitations to bid were issued this week on, including: RFP Construction of Middle-Mile Fiber in The City of Delta and RFI for the Dark Fiber Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU)/Dark Fiber Swap Agreement.  The RFP for Construction in Montrose is expected complete by June 30.

Additionally, NEO Connect and Actavo have met with both Tri-State and San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) for field-level evaluations of potential shared facilities. Site visits were completed to Tri State’s Starr-Nelson Substation and the Grand Junction Carrier Point-of-Presence. Both sites were evaluated for compatibility with Region 10 construction plans.

A conference call with representatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration is scheduled for June 17 at 930am. The purpose of which is to review the EDA grant requirements prior to Region 10’s final construction planning.

In addition to these meetings, the following activities are underway:

Preparation of budget, scheduling and production-tracking tools

NEO Connect is currently preparing a shared MS Project-based schedule for use with Actavo’s engineering team. Phase One scheduling is contingent upon completion of fiber routing and field surveys in Montrose, and timeline for delivery of fiber and vaults. The final version will be complete following a comprehensive review with the selected construction contractor. Overall budget, and material and labor cost projections are being managed with several Excel documents that use the current version of the Bill of Materials as a baseline. Preparation of these documents will be ongoing though the construction start date.

Engineering base map and final design.

The final engineering designs are developed based upon existing infrastructure, construction constraints and the buildout preferences of the various stakeholders. Final design for the initial build for theCity of Delta is complete, with all routing selected and analyzed for Make-Ready-Construction (MRC). Final design for the initial build within the City of Montrose is nearing completion, contingent upon final route selections and MRC analysis, and is expected complete by June 30.

Field Survey and Permitting

Field survey for the City of Delta is complete. Survey work for the City of Montrose is nearly complete with work crews focused on detailed pole and route surveys, completion contingent upon selection of final routing. Adjustments are expected to be made for design as collaboration efforts/assets are further defined within the City of Montrose. The permitting process requires extensive due diligence and will be ongoing throughout much of construction. The Actavo Engineering team continues filing for construction permits with the necessary state, federal and railroad entities. NEO Connect and Actavo expect to submit sample MRC packages to DMEA for review of process and clarification of expectations this week.

Request(s) for Proposal (RFP) Construction & Request for Information (RFI) – Dark Fiber IRU/Fiber SWAP

NEO Connect has completed the RFP for Middle-Mile Construction in The City of Delta. This document has been posted for review and bidding by over 800 firms at Please see the following table for relevant dates.

Schedule of Events (subject to change) All times are given in local Colorado time
Invitation to Bid, Release of RFP Tuesday, 06/14/2016
Inquiry Deadline Tuesday, 06/21/2016
Final Addendum Issued Friday, 06/24/2016 at 4:00pm
Proposal Due Date and Time Friday, 7/8/2016 at 4:00pm
General Contractor Selected, Contract Executed Week of 7/11/2016
Mobilization and Construction Start Monday, 07/25/2016 at 4:00pm

RFP Dates – City of Delta Middle-Mile Construction

NEO Connect is preparing the Construction Request for Proposal (RFP), City of Montrose. The RFP is expected to be ready for issue by June 30. Construction activities are currently scheduled to begin in July in The City of Delta, and continuing through completion in The City of Montrose during the month of October.

NEO Connect has completed the RFI – Dark Fiber IRU/Fiber Swap and it is currently open for review at Please see the following table for relevant dates.

Schedule of Events (subject to change) All times are given in local Colorado time
RFI Issued Monday, 06/13/2016
Inquiry Deadline Friday, 06/24/2016
Final Addendum Issued Thursday, 06/30/2016 at 4:00pm
Proposal Due Date and Time Thursday, 07/07/2016 at 4:00pm

RFI Dates – Dark fiber IRU / Fiber Swap

The Latest on Broadband for the Region

The Latest on Broadband for the Region

Region 10 continues to succeed in securing the funding necessary for the expansion of high-speed broadband in Western Colorado. An additional $1.78 million in grant funding​ was recently announced​ from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to be used toward this effort.

This particular grant will be used to finance the second phase of the regional broadband network designed to connect with the first phase of the project (Delta County and a portion of Montrose County) and extend into Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, and San Miguel Counties.

To update the community on our efforts, ​Region 10 recently hosted a regional meeting recently which invited both elected officials, internet service providers, and interested citizens. In attendance was Irv Halter, DOLA’s Executive Director, who spoke about the state of Colorado’s efforts to support economically struggling communities.

“It’s increasingly important to be able to have high-capacity broadband,” Halter mentioned while addressing the crowd. “In fact, it’s the coin of the realm: If you don’t have that, you don’t exist.”

Halter’s comments reflect the impetus of this entire endeavor, as broadband represents a vital component of our region’s economic development strategies.

The continued goal of this network is build out the “middle mile” infrastructure in and provide redundancy for each participating community in Region 10. Each community involved the project will house a carrier neutral locations for private providers to utilize for the “last mile” buildouts to home and businesses.

​The design is​ to build the most cost-efficient network by leveraging existing infrastructure assets, like dark fiber scattered throughout the region. To build from scratch and connect all Region 10 communities, a new regional broadband network is estimated to have cost $60 million. Instead, with careful coordinating, the estimated price tag for the project in its current is approximately $14 million.

Region 10 has already been a recipient of significant funding. The first phase of development received $5.2 million of state funds from DOLA and $1.2 million in federal funding from Partnerships for Opportunity, Workforce, and Economic Revitalization (POWER). All local communities involved in the project have ponied up matching funds to better leverage funding for construction and coordination of the network.

The project has also leveraged a generous in-kind donation from Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA)​, who remains a valuable partner in the process, and is​ provid​ing the network with six non-transferable fibers that are a part of their own internal network that is in the midst of construction.

​The projects are working together to determine the most efficient way to complete the middle mile service, while DMEA continues to plan to cover homes and businesses throughout their service area.​

​Executive Director Michelle Haynes comments, “This project represents significant collaboration from the most local levels, to support from state and federal resources, in recognition of the importance of broadband in our local economy. Region 10 is pleased to be a partner in such a broad effort in our communities and region.”

Phase one construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

With the new DOLA funding, phase two service areas will be integrated into the design and implementation process, with an ultimate goal to have the Region 10 middle mile portion completed within the next two years.

Our favorite 15 stories from 2015

Our favorite 15 stories from 2015


2015 was an eventful and successful year for Region 10. Here is a list of 15 of our most popular achievements in 2015, based on unique website views by our audience. Happy New Year, and we look forward to further achievements in 2016.


#1 – Region 10 helps brings a new microbrew to Gunnisonhighalpine2

With the recent closure of two breweries in both Gunnison and Crested Butte, Gunnison County has been without this traditional Colorado staple since last fall—a big no-no for a destination that boasts being a tourist hub and college town. With the help of a teammate and local brewmaster, Bryan Wickenhauser plans to open a new brewery on Gunnison’s Main Street named High Alpine Brewing Company. High Alpine’s tagline—“Where beer meets tree line”—aptly characterizes the close relationship this business will have with its location. Read more about how Region 10 and Gunnison Bank & Trust Company helped finance this crafty enterprise.


broadband-internet-providers_800x600#2 – Region 10 secures big grants for broadband

Access to high speed internet has been identified as a necessity for economic development, and Region 10 has been tasked with coordinating a regional wide effort to bring broadband to the area of Western Colorado. Region 10 was awarded two significant grants—one from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for $5.2 million and the Partnerships for Opportunity, Workforce, and Economic Revitalization (POWER) for $1.2 million—to jump start this effort. Learn more about Region 10’s continued efforts to bring high-speed internet to region.


gunnyriverpro8#3 – Small Changes Loan helps finance Gunnison River Pro’s unique product

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a comfortable seat that is easy to pack into a remote part of the Gunnison Gorge so that he can fish comfortably, and that man’s day just got even better. And that’s exactly what Chris Mortimer of Gunnison River Pro, based in Delta, Colorado, is trying to do. Mortimer designed a raft chair that is both comfortable and easy to store. After designing and fabricating the seat concept in his own garage, he ventured out to find outfitters who would be interested in purchasing the item. Read about how this microfinancing program helped bring Mortimer closer to achieving his goal.


grandparent3#4 – Kinship Connections finds home with Region 10

There is a large demographic of grandparents who are responsible for the care of their grandchildren. Kinship Connections for Kids—a support group formed a few years back to support this demographic—recently found a new home with Region 10’s Community Living Services department. Learn more about Region 10’s efforts to support grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.



amazingglaze#5 – Amazing Glaze finds support from Region 10 and Montrose DDA

Cherie McPherson learned about the custom pottery painting business while visiting family in California. Her family stopped in to a small shop to try their hand at this fun pastime – and it was love at first glaze. The concept is quite simple. Customers paint a unique design on a piece of pottery available at the storefront, and then the store fires and finishes the piece for the customer to take home. In her hunt for financial resources to make Amazing Glaze a feasible business enterprise, she came across Region 10 and Montrose’s Downtown Development Authority. Learn how this partnership buoyed this local gem of a small business.


medicare-logo#6 – Medicare counseling sets up shop with Region 10

A new partnership to improve Medicare access has been formed on the Western Slope. Region 10 and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) are teaming up to offer services and counseling for Medicare recipients living in the six-county service. SHIP counselors, who are volunteers with years of extensive training, have made themselves available for one-on-one appointments and information seminars throughout the year. Learn more about Medicare counseling services recently made available.


54B2TTIV9T#7 – DMEA becomes a vital partner in broadband

Region 10 recently gained an important partner in the push to bring faster and affordable internet to the Western Slope. Delta-Montrose Electric Association(DMEA) has agreed to be listed as a partner for the beginning phase of a regional broadband network in the six-county region of Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel. Last month, the DMEA board voted unanimously to participate in an upcoming grant application with Region 10 by offering its available fiberoptic cables as a valuable contribution to the project. Read more about why DMEA was so crucial to the development of broadband in our region.


caregiversummit#8 – Caregiver Summit makes its triumphant return

Community Living Services successfully coordinated the second annual Caregiver Summit and Retreat. The event was a celebration of those who selflessly dedicate their lives to providing care for others. Thought-provoking workshops and a vendor fair capped off a successful day for those who attended. Be sure to watch for next year’s Caregiver Summit and Retreat. Relive this informative and fun-filled day.



IMG_0745#9 – Economic Diversification Project in Delta and Gunnison Counties

Region 10 was awarded a $245,000 grant by the EDA to develop a strategic analysis designed to build the economic resiliency and sustainability of Delta and Gunnison counties following closure of the Oxbow and Elk Creek coal mines.

Better City—a consulting firm based in Ogden, Utah—was hired to develop an in-depth, data-driven analysis to broaden the economic bases of both counties. After working closely with the State Demographers Office, Better Cities compiled and analyzed economic indicators about potential opportunities for growth. Their analysis fed into proposals focused on leveraging local assets, building upon the communities’ natural strengths, and developing vision for a variety of potential economic development projects. Matthew Godfrey of Better City encourages communities to “think big” when it comes to envisioning future prosperity. In April, Better City—in conjunction with DCED, City and County of Delta, Region 10, and Gunnison County—presented their findings and recommendations to the public. Learn more about this ongoing project.

maxarchery5#10 – Max Archery partners with Region 10

Heath and Jesse McComb’s love of archery stuck with them through high school and after their time in the military. Returning to their home of Montrose, the McCombs brothers saw a unique opportunity to pursue their lifelong passions. Their hometown lacked an adequate archery retail option, so they created their own business: Max Archery. Learn more about this fledging business and how Region 10 helped finance the dreams of the McComb brothers.  


businessman hand touch virtual graph,chart, diagram#11 – Small Business Resources launches Small Changes Loan

Do you need just a little financial assistance to take your company to the next level? Perhaps it’s time to consider making some “Small Changes!” If you need funding to buy equipment, pay for advertising, build a new website or enhance your existing web presence, or even purchase inventory, the Region 10 Small Changes Loan Program was designed with you in mind. If you think the Small Changes Loan is the right thing for your business, click here to learn more.


bennett2#12 – Powerstop/Hammer—a gas station for a new generation

How much time do you spend at your local gas station? 10 minutes? 5 minutes? You probably spend just enough time to fill up the tank and grab a bag of chips, right? You might be inclined to spend more time at your local gas station if you are passing through Gunnison – especially if you visit the Powerstop and Hammer at 905 North Main Street. Whether you plan to scarf down a peanut butter-bacon burger, drink a local craft brew, or peruse a colorful assortment of snowboards, you will want to budget more time when visiting this local gem. Read more about how Region 10 helped expand this unique business concept in Gunnison.


seniordrug#13 – Options Counseling now available in all 6 counties

The goal of options counseling is to connect those in need—specifically the elderly and disabled—with the services and benefits that will help them become self-sufficient. Region 10 and Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado (ADRC) have provided options counseling for Montrose residents for years, but will soon be expanding into the further into neighboring counties. Read more about the expansion of options counseling throughout the region.


region10Slider#14 – DCED and Region 10 share new office space in Delta

Delta County Economic Development (DCED) and Region 10 are partnering to create a new business center and community hub for Delta. To kick off this collaboration, these two organizations moved into the former Bank of Colorado building located at 145 W. 4th Street. The goal is to create a unique space that provides an array of services from small business services to healthcare counseling. Learn more about how this new community hub is benefitting the Delta community.


coworking_groupshot#15 – We celebrate the future of coworking

You might have heard a little buzz around town about “coworking” and “coworking spaces”. If not, coworking is an innovative approach to attracting talent to coalesce into one physical space with the goal of supporting and spurring on entrepreneurial activity in the community. Region 10 is fully embracing this concept and supporting a variety of startup and ongoing efforts to bring coworking to our region.Region 10 proudly partnered with two coworking facilities in our region: The Hive in Paonia and the Proximity Space in Montrose. Learn more about this unique concept and how it is redefining the modern workplace.


Region 10 receives an additional $1.2 million for broadband

Region 10 receives an additional $1.2 million for broadband

Those who having been working to develop and expand broadband in Western Colorado received good news this month.

The Partnerships for Opportunity, Workforce, and Economic Revitalization (POWER) program awarded Region 10 – the six-county council of governments representing Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties – a $1.2 million grant to go toward its continued efforts in increasing access to affordable and abundant high speed internet services.

The grant was leveraged by an existing $5.2 million agreement between the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and several Region 10 communities involved in the early phases of the creation of a regional broadband network.

“When everything comes together like this, it gets very exciting,” states Michelle Haynes, Executive Director of Region 10.

The first phase of the regional network will focus on construction of the necessary infrastructure in all Delta County communities and extend into City of Montrose. The POWER funds will also be utilized for future phases extending into neighboring counties.

Region 10 was uniquely qualified for this funding for several reasons.

First, the funding specifically targeted communities who demonstrated a reliance upon coal mining as a primary employer. Approximately $15 million was set aside nationwide for communities who met this requirement.

Though the funding cannot replace the estimated $42 million impact of the recently lost coal mining jobs, the grant will serve to broaden and diversify the economic development strategies of the region. Broadband was identified as a primary economic barrier to all of the communities served by Region 10.

Region 10 also qualified because the funding was designed specifically for implementation, not planning. “There weren’t many communities who were ready for the implementation phase,” Haynes continues. “Since we had already started the planning a year ago, we were well positioned for the funding proposal.”

Communities are currently mapping out the anchor institutions (e.g., government buildings, fire departments, hospitals, etc.) so they can place carrier neutral locations (CNL) that can optimally serve all of the necessary community institutions.

Once in place, the CNLs will serve as hubs for internet service providers to provide the “last mile” service, potentially bringing fiber to the residential households and commercial buildings. Additional redundancy measures will be built to minimize significant losses in internet connectivity.

Delta County stands out in the region based on their commitment to supporting their communities. County leadership has agreed to insure that each of its communities will have at least one CNL.

“No other county is doing that in our region,” Haynes comments. “It’s very commendable.”

“Delta County believes that increasing the broadband capacity and redundancy in each part of the County will not only help the community, but will provide the infrastructure for private enterprise to deliver service direct to the business and private sectors,” states Robbie LeValley, Delta County Administrator.

The current timeline established by Region 10 and its Broadband Planning Committee estimates construction beginning in late spring or early summer of 2016.

“We are hoping by the end of 2016 to have the initial assets in place and some services available,” Haynes adds.

To stay up to date on the local effort to expand broadband, interested parties are encouraged to follow online at

DCED and Region 10 partner to create new community hub

DCED and Region 10 partner to create new community hub

Delta County Economic Development (DCED) and Region 10 are partnering to create a new business center and community hub for Delta. To kick off this collaboration, these two organizations moved into the former Bank of Colorado building located at 145 W. 4th Street. The goal is to create a unique space that provides an array of services from small business services to healthcare counseling.

Hoping to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of Delta, the building will offer small business support and economic development activities. “What we want to do is have more activities, education, and resources for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups,” states Trish Thibodo, Executive Director of DCED.

Region 10’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will host business-oriented programming in the new space. Free business consultation is available for small business owners, who are seeking assistance with their marketing, finances, or other business-related issues. In addition to consultation, classes and seminars will be readily available. For October, classes regarding social media marketing and business law are already scheduled. Information about the classes are available at

DCED will continue its work on county-wide projects designed to create and retain jobs. The most pressing issue championed by the organization is broadband development. Working closely with Region 10, who recently received a $5.2 million grant for broadband, DCED has been actively engaging with the county and municipal governments on planning and implementation of the recently released Broadband Blueprint (available to review at

In addition to business and economic development, the new space will also provide services that benefit the elderly and disabled. Two prominent Region 10 programs – the Aging and Disability Resources of Colorado (ADRC) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) – will be available in the new space.

ADRC specializes in providing information and access to the services that aging and disabled community members need to be self-sufficient. ADRC Options Counselor Jan Waggoner, whose diverse professional background includes significant amount of time in the healthcare industry, will be the resident counselor.

Waggoner covers all of Delta County so she spends a significant amount of time out in the field, making house visits.

“Our county is aging, and more and more people have unique needs,” Waggoner adds. “I’d like to help people remain happy and independent in their home, because there is no place like home.”

Waggoner is available to meet Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Appointments can be made by calling the Region 10 office at (970) 249-2436.

Sharing office space with ADRC, SHIP provides free counseling and support for Medicare recipients. With questions that cover a wide range of complexities – from Part D prescription drug coverage to claims appeals – Medicare counseling often necessitates the need for individual attention. SHIP Counselor Anne Britton will be available on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Appointments can be made by calling (970) 765-3132.

The buzz about co-working spaces – like The Hive in Paonia and the Proximity Space in Montrose – initially inspired the partnership. Though the new partnership is not currently structured like a traditional co-working space, Thibodo is optimistic that this model will develop in the future as the partnership evolves and grows.

“We are not going to be like The Hive,” Thibodo continues. “But if we start to be a spot where people are sharing ideas and expertise, we can be an important community asset regardless.”

As both groups grow into the new location, Thibodo encourages community members to stop by, visit, and share their ideas for how the space can be best utilized. Walk-ins are welcomed or interested parties can contact Thibodo at

Broadband Blueprint now available to read!

Broadband Blueprint now available to read!

After a year of diligently piecing together the necessary components of a robust and affordable regional broadband network, NEO Fiber and Region 10 have made the Broadband Blueprint available for public consumption. Click on the image below to download the full document.


DOLA awards $5.2 million to Region 10 for broadband development

DOLA awards $5.2 million to Region 10 for broadband development

Access to high speed internet has been identified as a necessity for economic development, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs will be providing $5.2 million to begin addressing this need on the Western Slope. On August 6th, Region 10 LEAP Inc. received the official notice of award for a grant they submitted in partnership with Cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta County, Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), and Delta County Economic Development (DCED). The grant will provide funding for the first phase of development of a proposed regional network that will start in Delta County and eastern Montrose County, and potentially extend into Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties during later phases.

Over a year ago, a gathering of community stakeholders – representing a broad range of public and private interests – came together to discuss how to improve broadband services. Delta County Commissioner Bruce Hovde was one of the original members of this stakeholders group, and continues to advocate for better broadband capacity. “Broadband is as essential to the growth of (our economy) in the 21st century as electricity and telephone were in the 1900’s,” Hovde proclaims.

With Region 10 acting as fiscal agent, the group received a DOLA grant to develop an implementation plan. NEO Fiber, a consulting agency based in Carbondale that specializes in these types of projects, was contracted to develop this strategy. Diane Kruse, Founder and CEO of NEO Fiber, has been diligently facilitating this process since July 2014.

“Region 10 and our partners are pleased that DOLA understood the need for development of this vital service in our area,” comments Michelle Haynes, Executive Director of Region 10.

Haynes emphasized the team effort that was necessary to achieve this large award. “Diane Kruse developed a creative, highly-leveraged plan that costs about 1/3 less than it would take to build the infrastructure,” Haynes continues. “With other key participants, including local governments and DMEA, this plan can deliver a cost-effective service that meets the regional goals of affordable, abundant, and redundant internet access.”

In March 2015, the board of DMEA voted unanimously to participate in the grant request, providing access to its fiberoptic infrastructure that is currently being built as an in-kind contribution. “This long awaited announcement is a significant accomplishment for our entire service area and represents a true spirit of cooperation,” adds Jason Bronec, DMEA’s General Manager. “We see this as an opportunity to use our existing assets to help improve the quality of life for our communities.”

The $5.2 million award represents approximately half of the $9.5 million estimated budget for the Phase 1 buildout of the project, which covers the communities of Delta and east Montrose Counties.  A second phase is currently in the final planning stages to cover Ouray, San Miguel, Hinsdale, and Gunnison counties. The regional plan is a combination of leases of existing fiberoptic lines and limited construction to provide a “middle mile” infrastructure that will connect to Carrier Neutral Location (CNL) open access points in each of the participating communities. The network will then be available for private “last mile” providers to deliver high-speed internet service to businesses and homes. “The project represents a true public-private partnership, where public investment is utilized to create a viable economy for private businesses,” notes Haynes.

The project is not only supported by the contribution of DMEA’s fiber infrastructure to assist in providing connectivity between the rural communities, but also by significant cash matches provided by the County and City of Delta, the City of Montrose, and other participating communities.

The communities have expressed a great deal of excitement in response to this news. Trish Thibodo, Executive Director of DCED, states, “Building high-speed and affordable broadband brings us forward and will make us more competitive and able to attract new businesses, entrepreneurs, and support our current businesses.” For more information on the region’s broadband efforts, please visit

How do Public-Private Partnerships address community needs?

How do Public-Private Partnerships address community needs?

Often times, there are community needs that are not being fully met by either the public or private sectors. Cash-strapped municipalities and county governments are beholden to public scrutiny and budgetary restrictions. In addition, public needs – which usually present a zero sum scenario – may not be fully addressed by the business community if it doesn’t make financial sense to do so; businesses need a return on their investment to satisfy shareholders and the bottom line. In these situations where both sides cannot achieve a greater good separately, developing a partnership between sectors presents a unique ability to tackle big problems, coalesce resources, and better serve communities. This is the essence of a Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

There is no set formula for PPPs. Each public issue – be it broadband infrastructure or job creation – requires a variety of stakeholders, and these stakeholders all have varying (and sometimes competing) needs. Typically, one entity serves as a mediator bringing stakeholders to the table, keeping them engaged, developing consensus, and working toward a mutually-beneficial project that furthers community development. If anything, PPPs are more of a process, rather than a product.

The current state of broadband in our community presents a unique opportunity for the implementation of this model. Broadband is another example of an unmet need that cannot be fully addressed by one side of the public/private equation. The vast mileage between smaller, rural communities requires significant investment to lay fiberoptic cables between them, and the lower population density of these smaller towns cannot aggregate enough demand to break even on this hefty investment. However, each side of the equation has access to different resources that help achieve similar goals. For example, public entities can remove the cost of public right-of-ways and easement perfections to reduce expenses for internet service providers (ISPs) or electrical cooperatives, such DMEA. In addition, ISPs or co-ops can grant access to their existing infrastructure through leasing of “dark fiber” (broadband fiber that has been built, but not “lit up”). The trick is rallying all of these actors to “play nicely in the sandbox” and negotiate agreements that work for everybody.

Region 10 is currently engaged in a large-scale PPP to deliver faster and affordable internet capacity to our communities. The current regional broadband network plan is the result of months of conversations, negotiations, and dialogue between towns, counties, state officials, internet service providers, rural electric co-ops, nonprofits organizations, and community members – all facilitated by Region 10 and NEO Fiber, a consulting firm hired to develop this plan. The regional network is on the precipice of significant funding for its implementation through a variety of grant opportunities – both state and federal. These grant funds will be fully leveraged by matching funds from the communities and in-kind donations from the private sources. Once fully funded and constructed, this fiberoptic infrastructure will incentivize ISPs to offer the “last mile” services – namely, high speed internet to businesses and homes. Considering the size and scope of this venture, the PPP methodology has proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective model.

As the local economy continues to rebuild, Region 10 is striving to implement innovative methods to create jobs, enhance revenue for our communities, and encourage economic development throughout the region. Public-Private Partnerships present a unique model for creating partnerships across our various sectors and meeting our communities’ needs. For more information about PPPs, be sure to visit our Public-Private Partnerships page dedicated to this model, which includes additional case studies and examples.

DMEA becomes important partner for broadband

DMEA becomes important partner for broadband

Region 10 recently gained an important partner in the push to bring faster and affordable internet to the Western Slope. Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has agreed to be listed as a partner for the beginning phase of a regional broadband network in the six-county region of Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel. Last month, the DMEA board voted unanimously to participate in an upcoming grant application with Region 10 by offering its available fiberoptic cables as a valuable contribution to the project.

DMEA is already in the process of building an internal network that combines all of its substations within its service area that extends into Delta and Montrose Counties. Region 10, based on consultation received from NEO Fiber, has identified this network as a vital component to the development of a regional broadband network.

DMEA’s fiberoptic network will be completed in about a year. Region 10, with the support of its board and its broadband steering committee, is offering to assist in the perfection of the easements necessary to allow commercial activity on the existing lines. In lieu of this, DMEA is offering access to its network to be leveraged for “middle mile” infrastructure. The network would extend to strategically located carrier neutral locations – which will be near anchor institutions like schools, fire stations, government offices, etc. – within each municipality.

Region 10 will be submitting a grant proposal to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs on April 1st to access additional funding for the development of this network. In addition to DMEA, the grant proposal will include the cities andtowns of Delta County and City of Montrose. This particular portion of fiber network represents the first phase of a broader regional network that will grow to include other counties within the region.

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