Sabrina James, the deputy city clerk for the city of Steamboat Springs, works on the city's website Monday afternoon in her office at City Hall. The city and other organizations in the Yampa Valley last week received unprecedented redundancy in their broadband connections.

Photo by Scott Franz

Sabrina James, the deputy city clerk for the city of Steamboat Springs, works on the city's website Monday afternoon in her office at City Hall. The city and other organizations in the Yampa Valley last week received unprecedented redundancy in their broadband connections.

New fiber from the west grants some organizations in Yampa Valley unprecedented broadband redundancy

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— Another big milestone recently was reached in the Yampa Valley's long and challenging quest to secure faster and more reliable broadband connections.

The city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, Steamboat Springs School District and other members of the Northwest Colorado Broadband Cooperative are securing some unprecedented redundancy in their broadband connections.

As of last week, Mammoth Networks now is able to bring service into the Yampa Valley from the east and the west following the installation of a new Eagle-Net line coming in from Hayden.

That means if something happens to the existing fiber line to the east, these entities still can get a connection from the new fiber to the west.

Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said that's big news and a new safeguard for the county's emergency communications services, which could continue to rely more and more in the future on a working connection to the Internet.

For the city of Steamboat Springs and the school district, the redundancy also has benefits.

"To my knowledge, it's never been accomplished up in this valley before," said Vince O'Connor, the city's information systems manager.

He said the redundancy can be utilized if service at the city is interrupted for even a few minutes.

"Now with more and more of our services in portals and online, we could reduce the capacity of our business by 75 to 80 percent just by losing that one Internet connection," O'Connor said. "We would lose emails and would lose the link between our vendors and the ability to have the public access some services."

He said the redundancy will take away some of the previous consequences of losing a connection.

"At this point, all of that (risk) is negated," he said. "It's pretty exciting. It's going to be a game changer around here."

The benefits of the redundancy also are expected to soon spread to other members of the Northwest Colorado Broadband co-op, including entities like Yampa Valley Medical Center and Yampa Valley Electric Association.

In recent months, members of the co-op have been able to get much faster broadband connections at a lower cost.

At the city, that means fewer interruptions from large network activities that previously had to be scheduled at a certain time so as not to slow down other services.

"I'm very impressed that people working together, our entities working together, have been able to accomplish as much as we have for the member entities," City Manager Deb Hinsvark said after the redundancy was announced. "Now we need to figure out how to do that for the broader population, and I think we're working on that next."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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