Garfield County OKs contract for broadband ‘blueprint’ phase |

Garfield County OKs contract for broadband ‘blueprint’ phase

Staff report

Garfield County commissioners recently approved a $30,000 contract with Mammoth Networks to develop a blueprint for the implementation and operation of sustainable wireless broadband service in the region.

Mammoth will design a detailed plan for the broadband network, which is meant to bring broadband to rural customers who currently have little or no service, according to Garfield County officials.

The cost of the project is expected to be about $2.3 million, a little over $1 million of which will be paid for through Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant money.

Garfield County will be partnering with Pitkin County, as both counties look to provide greater broadband connectivity in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, and surrounding areas.

This first phase of the project includes an evaluation of cost savings, stemming from the partnership with Pitkin County, according to a press release from Garfield County.

Officials will look to quantify the cost of a middle-mile network; creating a list of needed equipment to provide access to “last-mile” services to more remote areas of the county; and determining the overall capital and operating costs of the network, according to the release.

Mammoth is providing the county with network diagrams, equipment specifications, precise locations for towers, a list of equipment costs, construction and backhaul. It will also develop a technical management plan, according to the release.

The second phase of the project includes operator services and deployment of the network, all of which is anticipated to occur in 2019.

Once complete, a 4G microwave tower link connection will connect an additional 7,560 households that currently have little to no broadband service, the release stated.

The DOLA funding comes from the Tier II Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Funds (EIAF) program, which is meant to promote “community development and improved livability in communities that are impacted by development and extraction of minerals and mineral fuels.”

Garfield County commissioners unanimously approved the $30,000 contract at their Nov. 5 meeting.

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