Commissioners choose Visionary to replace LAI

RBC | Rio Blanco County Commissioners named Visionary Broadband, which is a division of Visionary Communications, to replace Local Access Internet as the county’s second value-added reseller of broadband services after hearing interviews with Visionary and with Homestead Fiber Communications, owned by Jared Harvey of Meeker, and receiving recommendations from the county’s IT and communications departments.

“After much debate and discussion, even bringing it down to a pros and cons list, the IT and communications departments are recommending from a business standpoint that Visionary be appointed,” said communications director Cody Crooks.

Vice President of Colorado Operations for Visionary Broadband Evan Biagi, whose office is in Steamboat Springs, said via email the company is looking to rent local office space and intends to have a local technician in the area. The number of local employees will depend on customer demand.

Visionary will provide the same service packages and keep pricing consistent with the other VAR. The larger company structure will also provide 24/7 tech support, a team of customer service reps, and a group of support technicians that are second to none in the industry, according to Biagi. “Our values and goals include answering the phone in a timely manner, getting back to people when we say we will, and treating our customers as we would want to be treated.  We pride ourselves on getting great customer feedback and reviews,” Biagi said.

“We understand that we may be viewed in the community as a big ‘corporate’ company, but we would like everyone to know that we do not view ourselves that way at all.  We got started in a basement back in 1994, and the majority of our shareholders work for the company. We focus on serving rural communities and become part of the communities we service in many ways.  This is why we are so very excited to be a part of this project, and we want to support the underlying mission that Rio Blanco County has to bring better broadband to everyone in the county,” Biagi wrote via email.

The commissioners echoed the recommendation of the IT and Communication departments and expressed their thanks for both proposals.

“I appreciate both proposals,” said board chair Shawn Bolton. “There’s pros and cons in both. I like what Vision brings to the table, and I like that Jared is a local guy. I feel we can’t go wrong either way. That makes this a tough decision.”

“This was supposed to be a local thing from the beginning, but Vision brings a lot to the table,” said Jeff Rector.

Commissioner Si Woodruff addressed Harvey, who was in attendance, “Jared, I’d like to say this is not against you. We compliment you.”

During public comment, Harvey thanked the board for the opportunity, and asked, “Going forward, I’d like you to make sure you hold them to the VAR standard, that they won’t just be an ISP here. The community has invested a ton in this network, please don’t let this turn into a piggybank with money going back to Wyoming.”

During a workshop prior to the meeting, Crooks said his department’s goal is for all seven mobile towers and some repeater towers to be installed by the end of October 2019. Bolton suggested starting now.

Bonnie Peterson with the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado presented revised sage grouse habitat maps to the commissioners that will hopefully preserve the greater sage grouse habitat while reducing limitations on oil and gas development.

There are six sage grouse populations in Northwest Colorado. The White River population is the smallest one, Peterson said, and there is much concern about its survival.

The BOCC agreed to terminate the month-to-month lease with the Town of Meeker for use of the second floor of Meeker Town Hall effective Oct. 31. The county offices housed in Town Hall, including public health and social services, will relocate to the Fairfield Center.

The board also approved grant awards to the Department of Public Health to continue the Cooking Matters and Choose When programs. Cooking Matters pays for food and supplies for our “Cooking Matters” classes that teach nutritious shopping and meal prep on a budget. Choose When is another grant that purchases long-acting reversible contraceptive devices (IUDs).

There will be no commissioners’ meeting in Rangely next week.

 

By NIKI TURNER | niki@theheraldtimes.com

2 Comments

  1. What about Rangely needing technical service? No mention of our end of the county. Joy and Dale with LAI worked hard to build that business and the commissioners take the business away and just hand the customers to someone else. Its just wrong!

  2. We really appreciated LAI. They were local and always available when we needed assistance. Being replaced with a Wyoming company is very concerning to us.

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