As middle-mile broadband installation in the City of Delta nears completion, the Delta City Council has finalized a number of service agreements/fiber exchanges with Region 10, DMEA and Elevate Fiber.
According to Glen Black, community development director, equipment installation and testing of fiber to the carrier neutral location should be finished by the end of the month. The activation, or lighting, of the fiber will be marked by a ribbon-cutting celebration.
The carrier neutral location is situated in the city's ML&P building. Region 10 will lease the space from the city for $1 a year, and will own and operate the equipment that will serve as a point of origin for the internet service providers, or ISPs, that will offer last-mile service to residents and businesses. Three to five ISPs are seen as optimal for a city of Delta's size.
The city has reserved the right to provide broadband service if those ISPs are not meeting the needs of residents and businesses by providing affordable, reliable, high speed internet services.
The city's goal is not to compete with those ISPs, but to create a competitive environment that is beneficial for all consumers. Although the playing field must be level for all interested ISPs, city officials noted DMEA's Elevate Fiber has "risen to the top" as a quality provider of last-mile services.
A memorandum of understanding between Region 10, DMEA and Elevate Fiber clarifies an understanding that DMEA's Elevate Fiber will consider, but not yet commit to, fiber installation to every premise within the city limits. DMEA has also reportedly submitted a letter of intent to acquire Deeply Digital, which would allow it to expand beyond its service territory.
At a recent city council work session, Michelle Haynes, executive director of Region 10, said as the regional broadband project has unfolded, more and more partners have joined in. Working with numerous partners can be challenging, she said, "but we're finding those partnerships are enabling us to leverage this network in ways we hadn't thought about."
As one example, she talked about the possibility of connecting with an existing network on the Front Range to serve educational institutions in the area.
She also stressed the importance of redundancy, so if a line gets cut to a community, service can be brought in from another direction. She pointed to a map that illustrates how loops offer diverse pathways to deliver service. Delta is one of the few communities in the regional project area with its own loop, she added.
"The goal is not only redundant lines, but redundant services," she said. "We will probably buy service from at least two middle-mile service providers." Region 10 is also in the final stages of selecting a firm to provide 24/7 support for the network and is taking steps to ensure the signal remains strong as it travels across the regional network.
By using existing assets, including Tri-State lines, Haynes said the $60 million project will run just $17 million -- a tremendous return on investment for the $3.5 million contributed by the City of Delta, Delta County and other community partners.