Yesterday I attended a "virtual ribbon cutting" (it takes a snow cat to reach the actual tower and the wind chill factor as about zero degrees) for Central Colorado Telecom, the Chaffee County version of Crestone Telecom, LLC at the annual Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation awards banquet. The event was hosted by Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort which has suffered from pathetic internet and cellular services.
What is significant about this event is that Crestone Telecom has been in operation for about 9 months and is almost cash flow positive. Through multiple invitations (and local investors plus a loan from the community bank) from anchors in Chaffee County (just north of Crestone over Poncha Pass), Crestone Telecom launched Central Colorado Telecom and has now completed microwave backhaul of one Gbps + into the county reaching anchors such as Monarch Ski Resort, mt Princeton hot Springs, Heart of the Rockies Medical Center, towns of Salida and Buena Vista.
Community leaders gave praise to founder Ralph Abrams for taking the initiative.
Whats the significance? Just another example of successful implementation of the 3-part mantra: a) the best solutions are local b) no one size fits all and c) it does NOT cost $ millions to bring broadband to even the most remote communities. The Local Broadband Planning Team initiated by the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation followed the 5 A's:
1. Aggregate experience: they got the right people on the team at EDC
2. Assess broadband environment: took many speed tests and inventoried service providers and infrastructure
3. Assess and aggregate demand: got community anchors on board to give their their business to alternative service provider if that provider would come to the county
4. Adopt existing resources and solutions: used existing towers to bring microwave middle mile tot he county; distribution through some new towers with support from local citizens in donating land for tower space
5. Adapt for sustainability
this model is no hard to replicate. See other examples at http://www.illvoteforyou ifyou make my netflixwork.org