What is the CBP?

The Community Broadband Project (CBP) is a collective of local Norwood, Nucla, and Naturita community members, organizations, and businesses who want to bring high speed, reliable internet to our region.  We were fortunate to be able to get the rights to an existing fiber optics cable (placed by Tri-State) that runs from Nucla to Ilium.  We would like to turn on that fiber so that we can use it for internet and allow it to be a new resource for our region.  But, the only way we can do this is if we get all of the landowners through whose land that cable runs to sign an easement that is specific to this use.

I thought i already signed an easement?

You did...but it did not include the use of the fiber line for commercial internet use.  By commercial we mean the internet that we use to manage our Quickbooks accounts, sell livestock online, browse websites, download movies from Netflix, or shop on Amazon.  The easement you signed was to Tri-State for the power line.  We're taking it one step further so that our whole region can access high speed, reliable internet.

So i have to sign another easement?

You don't have to.  We are able to amend your current Tri-State easement if you prefer.  This way nothing changes at all except the language will include the ability to light up the fiber for internet use.  Tri-State will still hold the easement and Tri-State will be the only ones accessing your property.

If i sign this easement does that mean even more people get access to my land?

No.  Absolutely not.  In fact, if you prefer to amend your existing Tri-State easement, then nothing at all changes except a little bit of language.  Only Tri-State, as agreed to in that original easement, can access your land.

why bother? Don't we already get internet?

Kind of, but have you noticed that in some areas internet service totally drops out?  Or in bad weather you can't access websites or Netflix?  Or it takes a half hour to access Amazon?  Or your local auto parts shop has to shut down when internet is out because he can't access parts to order? Now imagine you are an EMT and service drops out when you reach an overturned car.  Or you're a doctor at UMC and a storm won't let you access patient charts.  Yikes.  The reality is, we're paying a LOT more money for service that is WAY worse than internet everywhere else.  As far as we're concerned, it's never ok to pay more money for bad quality.

The most basic explanation is that our region is underserved and the current internet providers have no competition (so they can charge whatever they want).  Basically, they are price gouging us and are oversold with subscribers, so the service is terrible.  Without an alternative to the existing service providers, we will never get better service or better prices.  If we can give ourselves an alternative to those current providers, we can ensure much better service at cheaper prices because we'll finally have choices and leverage.  This is critical for our local

•           Schools

•           Medical centers

•           Libraries

•           Businesses

•           Economic development

•           Ranchers

•           Government

how does the easement agreement work?

The easement is exactly what surface land owners already granted Tri-State for the power line. This new easement takes that original one you signed and expands it to include this internet stuff.  We are asking you to grant this easement for the good of the community.  That's really what this whole thing is about.

can i get a tax credit by signing the easement?

YES!!!  If you sign your easement AND you pay Colorado state income tax, then you are eligible for a 12.5% state income tax credit based on the appraised value of the encumbered part of your land (where the fiber cable runs).  You can also get a 25% income tax credit by donating the cash equivalent.  This is part of the Colorado Enterprise Zone program. By signing the easement you are contributing to the economic development of our region.  You see, everyone wins!!!

when i sign my easement, how will it affect my property?

The good news is that nothing is different from what you have already agreed to for the Tri-State Easement.  No additional construction or work on your property is necessary.  This fiber already exists; we just need your agreement to make it work. 

Do you want to hear some really good news?  Your property value actually increases if you can prove you have access to fiber internet.  This fiber cable is the first step.  Yup - internet access is attractive to buyers and makes land more valuable.  National data shows that fiber internet increases home property values by an average of 3%. Not only that, but fiber also makes towns more attractive to live in, so your property values increase that way too.

okay, but who is really making money on this?

The honest truth is that there is already an internet market in the area, so those providers are already making money.  If you buy internet then you are paying a provider.  However, there is only so much that a consumer will pay for internet access, so the profit is limited.  That said, right now those providers are charging a whole lot of money for very little and very poor service.  So, if we introduce a little competition in the market with this new fiber cable, then those providers suddenly have incentive to improve service, increase speeds, and reduce prices for what you get.  Not only that, but no longer will you have to limp along on internet that is susceptible to weather (e.g. microwave). Fiber is a hard line and it can go really fast, carry a lot of information for a lot of people and organizations, and almost never go out.

Region 10 includes San Miguel, Delta, Ouray, Montrose, Gunnison, and Hinsdale counties and will act as the wholesaler to companies that connect internet directly to consumers like you and me.  Any money Region 10 "makes" that comes from acting as a wholesaler will be reinvested in the project so as to make users' prices lower and/or service better.  

i signed my easement and now i want this high speed internet.  how do i get it?

We're working on that. Region 10 will be a wholesaler of broadband to companies that connect internet to homes and businesses. These companies are “last mile providers” or “internet service providers (ISPs).” Region 10 will provide the lowest base cost of the wholesale product to incentivize last mile providers to provide better and more service. The lower the cost to the ISP, the more incentive they have to expand service. While the objective is to get service to anyone who wants it, there are no guarantees: some locations are too remote or lack power or other required infrastructure. Region 10's objective is to pass along the cost savings to last mile providers so they will expand service options to as many homes and businesses as possible from Nucla to Norwood.  They will be required to offer lower rates to consumers because of this cost savings.

The first thing, though, once we get all the easements signed, is to get the infrastructure built so that service providers can hook residents up as soon as possible.  Thankfully we have received funding for the builds from Nucla to Norwood, so the towns, residents, businesses, public service organizations can have high speed, reliable internet as soon as Summer 2017!

What infrastructure???  I thought the cable was already there?

Yes, the fiber optic cable that was installed with the Tri-State power line is already there.  There will be no construction in or on properties to get the line installed.  Think of that cable as the backbone for this whole project.  This backbone connects at one end to a station that gets internet from a big supplier out of Albuquerque or Grand Junction.  That internet runs along the backbone.  But, if we want to use the internet along that backbone, we need to connect to it.  That's what we mean by infrastructure.  We have a local expert who does builds like this in other rural areas who will oversee the project.  The money to build is already secured in grants from the government.  What needs to happen?  Well, most importantly we need to connect the public institutions to get fiber (a hard line, not wireless), so we will dig a trench to those places (school, library, medical center, fire house), and lay fiber in the trench.  Then, a series of technical equipment will be installed at various strategic points that will ensure the internet is getting directed to the right places.  We'll have a location where different service providers can put their equipment and then connect consumers to that equipment. That's how homes and businesses will get connected to internet.

so what if the fiber line doesn't get "turned on?"

If we can't turn on the fiber for commercial use, it's exactly like having a brand new highway that would get people from here to there faster and more safely, but setting up roadblocks on each end so that no one can use it, not even ambulances and fire engines.  It would be a huge disappointment for every single member of our community from the 2nd grader learning about geography to the senior citizen seeking ways to stay connected to his community as his mobility decreases to the local bakery trying to reach a broader customer base.  You see, it's not at all about money.  It's about connecting our community to each other and to the rest of the world.  

okay, i get it.  internet is important.  but doesn't it mean that everyone else makes money off of my easement?

The honest answer is no.  Internet is used in all sorts of ways from gathering information, to selling products, to purchasing products, to learning new things, to borrowing books.  True, you signing the easement allows everyone from Nucla to Telluride to access high speed internet, but only if they choose to pay for it.  It's an equal playing field from that standpoint.  No one is getting anything for free.  Will they make money from having internet access?  Look at it this way: saying that someone makes money from having internet is like saying he makes money from having running water or electricity.  These are all utilities.  Yes, internet allows businesses to advertise online, attract customers, and sell products.  But from that perspective, those same businesses will thrive and therefore create new jobs, hire more of our local residents, and bring more money into the community as a whole.  Again, it's a win-win for the whole region.  Everyone benefits.  Everyone.