Monday, November 10, 2003
South Routt residents should have the chance to sign up for high-speed Internet access in the next few weeks, with services scheduled to be up and running before 2003 ends.
The access is being made possible through the Beanpole Project, a statewide effort to get high-speed technology to rural communities.
On Monday, Routt County commissioners signed an agreement with NC Telecom, the company that will be providing the services.
The county agreed to lease a piece of land to the company where transmission towers can be installed and guaranteed the company $24,000 to pay for activation fees.
Before signing the agreement, Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger asked NC Telecom Operations Manager Rick Heming how long it would take before services were available.
"What's our timeframe now?" Monger asked. "We're getting grumbling out there."
The project originally was targeted for October completion.
Heming said the company was reluctant to start installations until a contract was in place but that once commissioners signed the agreement, installations should be complete around Thanksgiving.
That means that South Routt entities involved with the project, including schools, libraries and government buildings, should have access by early December, with services offered to Oak Creek and Yampa residents and businesses shortly thereafter.
The Beanpole Project works by aggregating government demand for infrastructure and then contracting with providers, using state funds to guarantee providers at least three years of service.
Initially, project officials didn't think there would be enough money to extend services to South Routt County. But because costs came in lower than expected, and because of the persistence of Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison, who attended the program meetings, NC Telecom worked out a way to bring service to the area, Heming said.
"Without (Ellison) being at every meeting and hitting me up on this at every meeting, it wouldn't be happening," he said.
The tower will be on land owned by Chevron for the old P&M mine outside of Oak Creek. The county has leased that land from Chevron for years, and is in turn leasing it to NC Telecom at no cost as another incentive to the company.
South Routt residents can learn about services and costs by early December on the NC Telecom Web site at www.nctelecom.com.