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City, county find common ground at joint meeting

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As the regional broadband project nears completion in the City of Delta, the city is updating power pole attachment agreements in anticipation of requests for infrastructure from internet service providers.

FCC regulations require all users be treated the same, including new end-mile service providers who have expressed interest in serving Delta once the regional broadband project has been completed.

In addition to the city, the power poles are currently used by CenturyLink, Spectrum, Delta County, Delta County Joint School District #50 and a couple of other entities.

During a joint meeting of city and county officials last week, Glen Black, City of Delta community development director, said broadband buildout is about 95 percent complete in the city. The remaining 5 percent involves equipment that will be owned and operated by Region 10.

"We could potentially light up the network by the end of April," he explained.

While only anchor institutions will initially benefit from high speed broadband, internet service providers would have an opportunity to carry the service from a carrier neutral location to homes and businesses in the city.

The city is also finalizing fiber optic exchange agreements with DMEA and Tri-State Generation & Transmission, another step critical to project completion.

High speed broadband has been touted as a critical element to economic development. That's why the county dedicated $750,000 to the project, county administrator Robbie LeValley said. The county's investment ensures high speed broadband will be available countywide.

Commissioner Doug Atchley explained how the broadband project extends beyond the boundaries of Delta County, improving service and redundancy to residents throughout Region 10.

Open access means that multiple providers will be able to serve businesses and residents throughout Delta County. With increased competition, affordability is expected to improve. "That's why we've encouraged the smaller communities not to sign with a single provider," LeValley said, adding that multiple providers also provide assurance in the event of buyouts, acquisitions and mergers in the world of corporate internet service providers.

All five city council members and the three county commissioners attended the joint session. City and county staff members and Trish Thibodo, director of Delta County Economic Development, were also present.

The wide-ranging discussion covered trails and the need to dovetail efforts, economic development partnerships, mental health issues, public lands and animal control.

Both city and county officials agreed to continue getting together, possibly every other month, to discuss issues of common interest.

The Delta Urban Renewal Authority also facilitates collaboration among the city, county and other taxing entities within Delta County. Commissioner Don Suppes, school board member Jill Jurca and a third representative, to be determined from special taxing districts, join the five city council members on the DURA board.

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