Mancos finishes construction on fiber optic Internet lines

The town has finished construction on new fiber optic lines that will supply broadband Internet to public buildings. But before the lines can go live two key local partners must reach an agreement.

Rick Smith, general manager of the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments, made the announcement at the Feb. 12 town trustee meeting. Smith organizes a state grant that funded better internet infrastructure for town governments in this region.

Several public and private entities are working to put in the infrastructure for better Internet service all over town.

The town, the school and businesses are waiting for an agreement to be reached between a company providing private fiber lines and a grant funded project that installed the school's lines for the project to move forward.

Affiniti, the project manager for the school lines, is currently negotiating a contract with Fast Track Communications, a private company that brought fiber lines into town, said Bob Roland the senior vice president, sales and marketing for Affiniti. FastTrack brought access through Echo Basin from a main regional line, Smith said.

The two groups must reach a legal agreement to work together, Smith said

Once the contract is finished, the fibers from FastTrack and Affiniti will have to be spliced together.

Roland did not give an estimate for completion.

"We are working to complete the project as soon as we can," Roland said.

A federal grant for $230,000 paid for nearly four miles of lines to bring the school better internet access. All of the school's lines have been installed, Roland said.

The town paid for about $32,500 worth of new lines to bring better Internet access to town hall and the public works building, Heather Alvarez, the town clerk, said. Construction on the town lines started in fall of 2013 and it went fairly smoothly.

"Mancos had a real simple build," Smith said.

The project hit a snag when a vault built by the school project was not in the right place, which slowed the project by about a month, he said. But Alvarez and town staff insisted that vault was moved and saved the town $10,000.

The town will be able to lease its fiber to private internet providers once the entire project is complete.

Smith said better Internet can also help draw and retain business in town.

"Broadband is an extra little incentive," Smith said.