Broadband possible by year’s end

MEEKER I Rio Blanco County’s Information Technology Director Blake Mobley presented a detailed update on the county’s broadband project to the Meeker Board of Trustees at the July 19 meeting.
The massive undertaking, which includes a network of fiber lines in Meeker and Rangely as well as several towers at various locations to “bounce” the signal countywide, is running smoothly and steadily, albeit not as fast as some would like.

“The most time-consuming aspect of the project has been calling in locates on utilities before crews can dig,” Mobley said. “The challenge is there’s just no way we can overload our local locate pallet. We can go at the pace that we can do locates,” he said.
The board had expressed concerns at a previous meeting about the damage from the installation process, including several large potholes that have appeared around installed vaults.
Until the fiber is jetted through the conduit, the holes will have to remain. Once the project is completed, however, town and county officials will go block by block with the project contractor to bring the community back to its original condition.
When asked when broadband access would be in homes, Mobley said, “I don’t really have an answer. I think it’s very likely local will be lit in 2016.”
In other business, the town board approved an option agreement with Eastern Rio Blanco County Health Service District regarding real property acquisition of the old hospital lot at Third and Cleveland in Meeker. The option protects the town’s interests if the property is sold.
Trustees also approved an agreement with Local Access Internet, LLC, to continue to provide Wi-Fi at Ute Park events, approved a liquor license for Gofer Foods, appointed Kim Kendall to the Meeker Housing Authority, had a discussion with Elizabeth Garden of LSL Planning regarding the town’s contract for illustrated designs and plans for the downtown area, and heard updates from Police Chief Bob Hervey and Russell Overton.