El Paso County Broadband Strategic Plan Spurs Fiber Implementation
- Economic Development
- Local Governments
- Private Utilities
- Public Utilities
- Fiber + Broadband
- Fiber + Broadband Planning
- El Paso County, Colorado
Challenge: El Paso County had repeatedly heard from its rural residents that internet speeds and service were unacceptable. The County needed to determine how best to address complaints from constituents. Would an El Paso County Broadband Strategic Plan help make the area more economically competitive? How would the County prioritize diverse socio-economic needs?
While Colorado Springs is well-served in one of five commissioner districts, rural residents felt underserved. The Commissioners authorized HR Green to study Internet service and create a strategic plan that would evaluate the County’s wired and wireless infrastructure. The goal was to develop a long-term plan to address improvements in order for the entire County to remain competitive and viable.
Solution: HR Green’s work with the County created the El Paso County Broadband Strategic Plan to drive economic development by identifying the most crucial needs and then creating facilitative policies and projects to drive fiber penetration deeply into unserved areas that will facilitate private sector investment.
The highlights of the study included a major public involvement initiative that surveyed residents and businesses and included outreach to Potentially Affected Institutions (PAIs) to determine the extent of issues across this geographically and economically diverse county. A 200-page strategic plan was delivered to the County that charts a course for future cooperation between the county and the private sector to deploy assets that collectively solve the issues identified.
The County partnered with Manitou Springs, Woodland Park, Colorado Springs Utilities, and CDOT to build a 17-mile dark fiber extension into a largely underserved area in Ute Pass. Additional projects are being conceptualized.
“HR Green was instrumental in the development of the El Paso County Broadband Strategic Plan. Their knowledge of the broadband activities in our market produced a partnership opportunity that allowed us to expand our fiber infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of building it on our own. We now have a solid framework to facilitate future partnership opportunities as we continue the work of improving broadband conditions for underserved stakeholders in the Colorado Springs/Pikes Peak region.”
– Jeff Eckhart, Chief Information Officer, El Paso County