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Area counties looking to improve broadband

Staff report

Pitkin County is asking residents for information that will help leverage better access to broadband Internet.

The county is part of a regional effort that could greatly improve local and regional broadband service, according to a statement. Spearheaded by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, of which Snowmass Village recently became a member, the project is focused on improving access to broadband for an eight-county area, including Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, and Summit counties, the city of Glenwood Springs and the town of Carbondale.

Officials agree that there is a deficiency in broadband connection in the mountains and the infrastructure necessary to make high-speed Internet possible here. According to broadband project consultant Paul Recanzone, Colorado’s northwest region has reportedly fallen behind its neighbors in terms of broadband performance and is mediocre compared with its Front Range counterparts in terms of speeds, reliability and costs.

The county is asking residents to complete a short survey to help build a good information base for a plan that will help the region leverage sufficient access to broadband. The survey can be found on Pitkin County’s website under “Community” by clicking on “Take the Broadband Survey.”

Questions include home and/or business address and who participants’ current Internet provider is. Pitkin County Assistant Manager Phyllis Mattice said the survey also will ask how much residents currently are paying because the council wants to find affordable options. The survey also measures the data speed of participants’ connections.

“The carrier will tell us where they have service,” but sometimes the connection in certain homes won’t be as strong as the carrier says it is, Mattice said, which is why the county wants to measure residents’ connections.

The information will be kept private, although it will be shared with a broadband-mapping service provided by the state, Mattice said.

Snowmass Sun Editor Jill Beathard contributed to this report.


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