GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we think about a lot of things. It also showed the lack of high speed broadband internet across our nation.
The bipartisan Infrastructure bill, now passed by Congress, aims to expand broadband services in what State Senators are calling the great transition.
The sound of dial-up internet was first offered commercially in 1992 but is now almost unheard of.
Yes, in 2022 dial-up internet service is still available, if you can withstand the obnoxious tones that is.
U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper met in committee to leave old tech behind with some big ideas, “This is going to be a historic investment,” Senator Hickenlooper says, “Specifically how we can recruit and help support workers to build the broadband infrastructure of the future.”
The bipartisan infrastructure law includes $65 billion, to connect every house to highspeed, reliable, and affordable internet, “We are at a critical time in our quest to expand access to high speed broadband internet to literally every American,” Senator Hickenlooper said.
Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis spearheads our county’s broadband push, but getting middle-mile fiber here has been challenging, “Basically that would come from the backbone of the fiber that is on I-70, that Colorado Department of Transportation has allowed being put in, and taking it to every part of Mesa County to what is called central neutral locations,” Laura Page, Mesa County Engineer Division Director says.
Commissioners are looking to the Clifton Community Center, and the Fairgrounds as Mesa County’s centralized locations, “From there, the individualized service providers will deliver broadband to the individual homes and businesses,” Page says.
The $65 billion will create tens of thousands of jobs in a rapidly growing industry, but an industry that continues to face strains and shortages, “This critical need for skilled laborer’s, tower climbers, technicians, all to help build the broadband infrastructure to communities, has only gotten worse,” Senator Hickenlooper says.
In Mesa County, Commissioners have signed a contract with NeoConnect, once commissioners receive a layout design, they will apply for grants.