GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Internet is a recent phenomenon, but in today’s world, online access is a must. During pandemic school closures, Riverside Educational Center, an afterschool tutoring center, came to the rescue of almost 100 students who had no access to the internet at home. They provided help so they could continue their studies when things went full-on remote.

Commissioner Cody Davis admits some areas of Mesa County have no access and several other spots are so slow they may as well not have access and are considered underserved. Davis tells me Mesa County plans to install broadband, not just for the underserved but also for the smaller, rural areas.

But Davis tells KREX some locations are so hard to reach they may never have broadband, and their only options will be wireless internet service providers, like Elon Musk’s Starlink.

The fact that some will remain without access to the internet leads community leaders like Joy to question if the whole system needs to change, suggesting, “Why isn’t it like utilities so that everyone has access?”

For now, Davis says Mesa County access is expanding in phases reliant on funding. Collbran, on the Mesa, expects to break ground on its new fiber system soon. Whitewater, Loma, and Mack will follow.