connectivity

The goal of Gila County's broadband project is to bring affordable, resilient, future proof, county-wide, open, and competitive internet broadband services to all residents and businesses.

A 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 30 work session of the Gila County supervisors includes an update on efforts to bring broadband internet service to all residents and businesses.

Scheduled to make the presentation are Homero Vela, Strategic Planning Team, EntryPoint, and Kimley Horn/BPG.

Information provided before the March 30 meeting states, “It has long been evident that rural communities lag urban communities in broadband infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on this disparity and brings a focus to the idea that our quality of life is dependent, in many aspects, on the quality of our internet connectivity. A strategic broadband plan will allow Gila County to submit broadband grants and pursue implementation plans.”

The Broadband Strategic Planning Team has spent the last 15 months investigating various strategic alternatives and broadband network designs and associated costs to bring affordable, resilient, future proof, countywide, open, and competitive internet broadband services to Gila County.

The county has solicited the support of its cities and towns and has been working with two consultants, EntryPoint and Kimley Horn/BPG to develop a Strategic Broadband Plan. The Broadband Strategic Planning Team has worked on the following:

• Visited with six cities and towns to solicit their support

• Developed a website and survey

• Held broadband team meetings

• Held discussions with APS, SRP, Suddenlink, CenturyLink, Sparklight, Coconino County, and Gila County Industrial Development

• Reviewed and compared the different transmission mediums

• Reviewed the improvement district concept for counties and municipalities

• Analyzed invoices from incumbent providers

• Mapped conceptual routing for APS, SRP and Sparklight fiber routes

• Developed and analyzed conceptual designs and conceptual costs for the first, middle and last mile as well as conceptual maintenance and operational costs

• Reviewed grant opportunities

• Developed strategic recommendations for next steps to improve the internet broadband service for Gila County

With the item on a work session agenda, no action can be taken by the supervisors.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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