Public meeting Sept. 24 will look at broadband availability in county

RBC I A public summit presentation on digital broadband telecommunications, open to all Rio Blanco County residents, will be hosted at Colorado Northwest Community College’s Weiss Conference Center at noon on Sept. 24
“All interested individuals and organizations are invited to attend to learn how high-speed fiber-optic digital broadband telecommunications can positively impact Rio Blanco County residents and greatly enhance economic development and heritage tourism” according to CNCC President Russell George and Peg Rector, chair of the Net Group, which is co-sponsoring the presentation. Rector is a former Rio Blanco County commissioner and a community service activist.
The mission of the summit is to bring technical experts, government officials, businesses, broadband service providers, community coalitions and local citizens together in a forum to develop the best and most useful comprehensive solutions and plans to rapidly and effectively provide optimal broadband services.
Audrey Danner, chair of the Northwest Colorado Council of Government’s Broadband Local Technology Planning Team (LTPT) and executive director of the economic development committee, will be the moderator for the presentations and discussions. Danner is a former Moffat County commissioner.
Frank Ohrtman, a nationally renowned broadband telecommunications consultant, will be the featured speaker and moderator of discussions on development of a comprehensive broadband telecommunications turnkey system that can deliver affordable, abundant, redundant high speed digital telecommunications access for rural and local residents throughout the county.
A panel discussion will feature a variety of broadband providers and experts, including Richard Welle, general manager of White River Electric Association, and invited representatives from broadband providers such as Tri-State Generation, Strata, Union Wireless, Eagle Net, Century Link and others, who are expected to be in attendance or participating via teleconference call.
Broadband coalition groups from other Colorado counties and communities will also participate. County and local government information technology directors and elected and administrative officials will be in attendance as well.
Rural Colorado is the least-well-served for high speed broadband telecommunications access.
While metropolitan area residents along the Front Range are used to high-speed data download services at 20- to 40-plus megabytes per second (mbps), the current best speed/capacity most Rio Blanco residents can hope to have is about six mbps download through phone line DSL in Meeker and Rangely, or in rural areas by satellite digital providers of about three mbps.
As a comparison, downloading a two-hour high-definition movie at three mbps can take several hours. Conversely, the same movie delivered at 20 mbps, can require only a few minutes or less. High speed broadband has dramatic impact and opportunities not only for home use, but for businesses, schools, healthcare, government and many others.
For those unable to attend in person, a toll-free conference-call number that hosts multiple callers to hear and/or participate in the presentations will be provided to those who register.
Registration is required to allow for adequate seating, for the head count for a light lunch and to join the conference call. There is no cost to participate.
Persons planning to attend should RSVP by Sept. 20 to CNCC Executive Assistant/PIO Becky Dubbert at 970-675-3301 or email becky.dubbert@cncc.edu.