Before Jan. 1, Nora Phillips, assistant clerk/treasurer for Yampa, had to dial up each time she wanted to get online to do research for the town. The town had one phone line for using the Internet and sending faxes, so Phillips could only do one at a time.
Now, Phillips and other South Routt governmental employees have an Internet service that's faster and is always on and ready to use.
"I believe it's faster, and it's handier because you don't have to dial up. It's on all the time," Phillips said. "It's wonderful."
As of early January, most South Routt town halls, libraries, schools and other governmental entities have had access to high-speed wireless services, and a few South Routt residents have signed up for the services, as well.
The access is being made possible through the Beanpole Project, a statewide effort to get high-speed technology to rural communities.
The company providing the services, NC Telecom, received state funds to provide three years of service to South Routt governmental entities, as well as to other parts of Northwest Colorado, including Steamboat Springs and Hayden.
Wendy Villa, director of the South Routt Library District, said patrons at the libraries in Oak Creek and Yampa have been thrilled with the new service.
"Our patrons have had nothing but wonderful things to say," Villa said. "It's a wonderful service, and we're just happy we could be a part of it."
Compared to the slower service that the library had before, the new wireless service "is like lightning," she said.
The South Routt School District had high-speed Internet access before it was offered through Beanpole funds, but it made the switch to NC Telecom because of the three years of free service, said Suzie Lindstrom, technology coordinator for the district.
The district spent about $11,000 annually for Internet services before the Beanpole funds, and the free service from NC Telecom will cut those costs significantly, she said.
The district has about 200 computers, so it required time and effort to make the switch.
"Any time you make a transition like that, you have some things to work out," Lindstrom said. "But again, it's a positive long-term thing."
Oak Creek Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said the faster service that doesn't require dialing up is more convenient for the town.
The service is working well, said Rick Heming, NC Telecom Operations Manager. Several residents have signed up for the service, which costs $44.95 a month.
Residents who are interested in signing up for the service can call 1-866-NC-TELECOM or go to www.nctelecom.com.
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