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DMEA chief unveils broadband details

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Speaking to a gathering of elected officials and senior staff at the Municipal Quarterly meeting in Paonia last Friday, Jasen Bronec, Delta-Montrose Electric Association CEO, unveiled details of DMEA's broadband plan including rates the co-op will charge.

DMEA is becoming a new entrant in the local Internet service provider marketplace which, by one recent count, already has 12 to 15 private sector companies competing for home and business customers.

Bronec said DMEA will provide residential Internet at 100 Mbps (upload and download) for $49.95 per month.

He said that DMEA will provide residential Internet at 1 Gbps (upload and download) for $79.95 per month.

In addition, DMEA will offer customers a TV service (local channels) for $24.95 per month. And a phone service with unlimited long distance in the U.S. and Canada will be available for $29.95 per month.

A wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary called Elevate Fiber has been formed and will be the corporate vehicle DMEA uses to build and run its fiber optic broadband enterprise, Bronec said.

Virginia Harman, manager of member relations and human resources for the co-op, confirmed by email, "DMEA is going to own and finance the fiber backbone [i.e. middle mile]. Elevate will lease it from DMEA in order to provide retail Internet, TV and phone services.

"We are confident that DMEA will secure financing at competitive rates in order to build our fiber backbone."

The board of directors for DMEA will also be the board of directors for Elevate Fiber. Harman, replying to an email inquiry by the DCI explained, "The boards of both DMEA and Elevate Fiber will be updated monthly on the financial status of both businesses. Cooperative members will receive an annual financial report, as they currently do for DMEA."

Bronec said that DMEA will conduct a full rollout of its broadband initiative at the co-op's June 16 annual meeting in Montrose. DMEA is implementing its broadband in three areas first: Montrose, Paonia and Orchard City.

Michelle Haynes, director of Region 10, also spoke at the session. She and Bronec emphasized cooperative aspects of their two, separate middle mile fiber optic backbone infrastructure networks. But the two systems face a competitive relationship as well -- Region 10 aims to sell middle mile access on its system to the private sector ISPs that DMEA will be competing with directly for retail customers. DMEA's middle mile network will be for its own proprietary use.

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