In April 2018, Colorado Governor Bill Hickenlooper signed a bill that will commit $115 million over five years to bring improved high-speed internet to under-served rural areas of the state as part of a broader legislative agenda that includes vigorous state investment in rural development.
That is great news for Gunnison Valley where efforts are already underway to improve access to internet and cell phone services.
Several local governments and other entities are part of a broadband improvement project led by the Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning. The group has recently created a 10Gbps connection from Montrose to Gunnison that terminates at Western Colorado University (WCU). Plans are underway to construct a permanent Carrier Neutral Location in Gunnison to provide local providers with access to that bandwidth for commercial use.
This project is essential as it provides much needed broadband “redundancy” for the Gunnison Valley residents and businesses. Region 10 will continue to explore potential routes/infrastructure to Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, should they decide to participate in the future.
In late 2017, the Gunnison Valley Hospital received a grant to improve redundancy and and Central Colorado Telecom using the Gunnison MetRec tower locations on Monarch and W mountain brought in a microwave link from the San Luis valley. While the link is for the hospital, Central Colorado Telecom will make it available to other entities for redundant connectivity. WCU is setting up to utilize a portion of this link. MetRec is also using it to communicate with its equipment on Monarch to reduce the need to travel to the site to handle certain actions. Starting bandwidth is 0.5 Gigabit while it can be scaled to at least 2 Gigabit in the future.
In addition, telecommunications company CenturyLink is currently laying redundant fiber optic cable over Cottonwood Pass during repaving operations.
Depending on location, local and regional internet providers offer a full array of packages to suite any business needs: DSL, cable, satellite and more.
Location is essential for quality cell coverage. Depending on location, connectivity tends to differ from carrier to carrier. As expected, cell coverage improves closer to population and tourism bases throughout the valley. Farther away from the major population and tourism bases, cell service may weaken.