Broadband project moves forward with City of Craig’s acceptance of design, financial model
Craig City Council accepted the Phase 1 deliverables for the Moffat County Broadband Initiative (MCBI) on July 10, moving the project forward to the construction grant application phase.
“I am beyond satisfied with the work that Mammoth Networks has completed in a short amount of time. We now have a detailed network design and coordinating finance model for the initial capital costs and ongoing operating expenses that we can use to apply for state and federal funds,” Michelle Perry, executive director of Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership (CMEDP). “We are ready to take MCBI to the next step and apply for funds to bring this design to fruition.”
Evan Biagi, vice president of Colorado operations for Mammoth Networks, and Perry led the presentation of the Blueprint document and supporting financial and design documents at the City Council workshop in the afternoon, and Council voted to accept them at the regular meeting. Jon Stavney, executive director of Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, also presented about Project THOR, a regional middle mile back haul network that the countywide network will utilize.
The Phase 1 contract with Visionary Communications, DBA Mammoth Networks, was executed on March 29, 2018. The City of Craig and Moffat County each contributed half of the expense of the $25,000 contract.
MCBI is a joint effort of several local community anchor institutions, led by City of Craig, Moffat County and CMEDP. In addition to those three entities, Memorial Regional Health, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Moffat County School District and Moffat County Local Marketing District have also contributed to a three-year contribution for CMEDP to complete the administrative work for the network.
The City of Craig will be the network owner and fiscal agent for the project. Mammoth Networks will serve as the network operator, negotiating contracts and overseeing the development, maintenance and operations of the project.
“The project is a hybrid fiber and wireless model that creates the central network within and between our Moffat County communities and builds drop runs to our community anchor institutions,” Perry said. “This allows us to create a redundant, affordable, high-capacity network that internet service providers can tap into to serve our communities’ businesses and residents.”
With the completion of this design and engineering phase, the community is now poised to submit grant applications to the state and federal government programs that are putting substantial resources behind rural broadband build-outs.
“We intend to apply for grants from Colorado Department of Local Affairs and U.S. Economic Development Administration with local match dollars to fund the construction phase,” Perry said. “If all goes as planned, we could have the local network ready to launch in a year’s time.
“The broadband project is critical infrastructure for Moffat County’s growth. This Blueprint for development is a major step forward for our community’s economic future.”
In addition to accepting the plan, the City of Craig also approved a letter of intent to participate in Project THOR, a regional middle-mile network to feed the local network. Jon Stavney, executive director of Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, attended the Craig City Council workshop to explain the multi-jurisdiction project that allows for redundancy and bulk buying power across the region. The City approved participation, contingent on a successful local network for it to feed, with the costs being calculated in the local networks financial model.
Moffat County Broadband Initiative documents can be found at ci.craig.co.us/government/broadband. For more information on the Moffat County Broadband Initiative, contact Perry at 620-4370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.