EAGLE-Net officials visit Moffat County, Craig about broadband services

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EAGLE-Net representatives visited Moffat County on Tuesday for the first time in five weeks, highlighting the procedures and problems that the broadband Internet alliance currently is facing.

In a lengthy presentation to county and city officials, the organization outlined target goals for bringing broadband Internet to rural Colorado, including Moffat County schools and government offices.

“Our prioritization schema is that (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) will make us a schedule delineating our objectives, and we have to meet those deadlines,” said Vice President of Business Development Chip White.

Moffat County is listed as one of 29 priority builds and, as such, is required to be completed and live on the network by the end of 2013.

“We don’t have an exact schedule date, but hopefully sooner than later,” Northwest Colorado regional representative Dave Kavanagh said.

Unfortunately, because of prior contract obligations, neither the Moffat County government administration offices nor the Moffat County School District will be hooked into the EAGLE-Net network until next year at the earliest.

“We can only serve government entities that opt to join in and become members of the EAGLE-Net Alliance,” White said. In addition, EAGLE-Net does not provide service to any not-for-profit organizations, including charities and health care facilities.

Work on the statewide broadband Internet system began 36 months ago, but only 17 of those have been spent on actual construction of the network because of delays and a 5 1/2-month suspension of EAGLE-Net’s grant because of failure to follow environmental regulations.

Of the original $100.6 million federal grant, White confirmed that only about $8 million remains and is readily available. The network also earns roughly $150,000 per month from complete and active locations around the state.

EAGLE-Net is looking to raise an additional $8 million to continue the project and has applied for a one-year extension on the original grant.

“I just don’t know what to think,” Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said. “They do a lot of talking without much action. It seems like they’re just jerking around the people they promised (service) to, and honestly, I have no idea how they think they’re going to do all of it with $8 million.”

For more information, contact Andie Tessler at 970-875-1793 or atessler@CraigDailyPress.com.

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