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PRESS RELEASE
May 17, 2016

Garfield County requests community input regarding broadband

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield and Mesa counties have jointly commenced a Broadband Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan study with the goal of improving the speed and reliability of internet service for businesses and residents throughout the region. Garfield and Mesa Counties received a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant to conduct this needs assessment in both counties, and to develop a plan for enhancing broadband services.

The counties have retained NEO Connect to prepare the broadband plan and determine strategies regarding the local governments' role in this process.
The Garfield County Board of Commissioners held a kickoff Work Session May 3 to discuss broadband services, constraints and challenges. The Board of County Commissioners would like to get the community's view of current broadband services and feedback regarding Garfield and Mesa Counties' or the local municipalities role in improving broadband services throughout the community.

To facilitate this, the county is releasing a survey to all residents and business owners regarding current services and needs, current uses of the internet, and internet speeds.

In addition, the surveys will determine the level of service available at differing locations, how the internet is used, what citizens currently pay, and what they would be willing to subscribe to in the future. The survey includes questions about the local government's role in providing broadband services.

The Broadband Needs Assessment study includes a series of upcoming community engagement meetings to gather input for county and region-wide broadband planning. Times and locations are shown below. The goal of this process is to develop a plan that fully leverages current broadband resources, while improving the availability of high speed internet throughout the county and region. Public input, along with that of all internet users – businesses, professionals, community and health services providers, educators, government officials, citizens, internet service providers/carriers, and legislative representatives – can ensure comprehensive internet development.


Garfield County is also considering placing a ballot question on the November ballot regarding opting out of Senate Bill 05-152. It restricts local government from offering competition in the provision of some communications services, including broadband internet. The bill specifically prohibits local governments from providing broadband internet services either directly or through public/private partnerships. If voters agree to opt out, the counties would be able to consider a wider spectrum of opportunities for attracting and implementing the services.

The survey is being distributed through chambers of commerce, local municipalities and other public entities, and is available to all residents through the Garfield County website at www.garfield-county.com.

Garfield County
outreach meetings
Friday,
June 3
Friday,
June 10
Wednesday,
June 15
Thursday,
June 16
  Glenwood Springs Branch
Library
Rifle Branch Library Carbondale Branch Library New Castle Branch Library
9-10:15 am Business and industry Business and industry    
10:30-11:45 am Internet service providers Internet service providers    
12-1 pm Lunch Lunch    
1:15-2:15 pm Education and libraries Education and libraries    
2:30-3:30 pm Health care
organizations
Health care
organizations
   
3:45-4:30 pm Break Break    
4:30-5:30 pm Government Government    
5:45-6:45 pm Public Public Public Public

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs is a participant in this broadband planning process.


For more information, please call Garfield County Manager, Kevin Batchelder, or Executive Assistant, Vola Mercer, at 970-945-5004.
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Garfield County Administration
108 8th Street, Suite 101
Glenwood Springs, CO  81601

970-945-5004 | phone
970-945-7785 | fax

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