As you may already be aware, there has been a lot of attention this month on the EAGLE-Net network - it's that time of the year - and unfortunately a lot of the attention includes misinformation.
As a reminder, EAGLE-Net is an intergovernmental group formed for the purpose of improving broadband across the state of Colorado - a state that ranks near the bottom in broadband connectivity. In addition, our state's schools have about half the Internet bandwidth of most other states, meaning less time and access to online services and information for our students in what is a competitive online world. We are working hard to change these statistics for the better.
Our mission has not changed - we are working closely with local businesses and governments to keep Colorado competitive with other states and open more opportunities for our students, local providers and communities.
We want to be clear that we are:
Building a first-of-its-kind statewide middle-mile high-speed broadband network that will connect about 170 Colorado communities;
Offering local carriers a choice for middle mile network access at a lower cost - that they can in turn offer to their customers;
Creating a robust and redundant system that complements and enhances existing infrastructure. Having a redundant network is not a luxury - it's a necessity to ensure network reliability; and
Governed by and report to a board of cooperative representatives from across the state.
We also want to clarify the recent misinformation.
1. We are governed by a strict set of rules and regulations that guide how and where our network is constructed to avoid overbuilding. Our task, according to our grant, is to create a statewide network that provides access where there is not adequate or affordable infrastructure.
Based on community feedback and the formal requests for information we made available to local providers, we're building a network that satisfies grant parameters and improves the broadband needs of our communities.
We have worked and are continuing to work with communities across the state to address concerns in order to allow EAGLE-Net to continue moving forward with the creation of a robust statewide network.
2. EAGLE-Net is not competing against local service providers for business, residential or commercial customers. We must compete fairly with other providers to enable broadband service options to governmental entities.
In fact, we believe that by partnering with local providers we can enhance their ability to improve and grow their service to residential and business customers.
3. According to the infrastructure grant we applied for, EAGLE-Net is required to make its network available to serve the community anchor institutions, including school districts, libraries, city and county offices, public safety facilities, public health care facilities, BOCES, community colleges and institutions of higher education.
These federal grants were only awarded to entities that proved they could be sustainable.
Finally, the status quo for broadband in Colorado is no longer acceptable. Our project satisfies a real need for access and redundancy and we are proud to be bringing a solid statewide network to all four corners of our state.
On that note, we wanted to share a letter of support from the town of Silverton, the Silverton School District and San Juan County. Silverton is a town recently portrayed as not certain of whether or not EAGLE-Net would be providing high speed broadband services to their community. As you will see in the letter, they actually offer their support to EAGLE-Net.
Here's a sentence from the letter.
"On behalf of not only the local residents we represent here in Silverton, but for those business interests and residents all along this vastly underserved corridor, we are once again thankful for the enhanced connectivity ENA promises for the region on a collective basis."
We'll plan to share more of these supportive letters in future communications, but in the meantime, don't hesitate to give us a call or send an email if we can answer a question about our project.
We'll see you around the state.