Delta-Montrose Electric Association's board of directors has voted unanimously to proceed with a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) business in order to bring reliable broadband Internet service to the citizens and businesses in Montrose and Delta counties. The DMEA board approved a phased deployment, which will begin with an initial pilot phase. Work on the development of the pilot phase begins immediately. This first phase is an important milestone for the cooperative, and will be used to prove the business model and test assumptions, such as take-rate.
"We have an obligation to protect the financial and operational integrity of the cooperative for our members. Using a phased approach will allow us to minimize our risk by only building each phase once we have met specific take-rates," said DMEA CEO Jasen Bronec.
After hearing of requests by local citizens to find a solution for the poor Internet service in the area, DMEA's board of directors began researching options. Recognizing that reliable high-speed Internet service is now paramount to advancing economic development and quality of life, just as electricity was in the 1930s, the cooperative has been conducting in-depth research on broadband business models and case studies since late 2014. "Because we were already deploying fiber-optic infrastructure for internal purposes, it made sense for us to explore the opportunity of expanding broadband services to our membership," said DMEA board president Bill Patterson.
"Since my arrival at DMEA, I can't remember a time when broadband Internet wasn't on the minds of our members. Our communities are underserved and looking for help. It's a story not unfamiliar to co-ops. Co-ops were instrumental in lighting up rural America once. Now we're doing it again," said Bronec.
"This is a momentous decision for DMEA members, employees and communities. We are only at the beginning and have a lot of planning and work to accomplish before all of our members have access to our fiber. We ask that our members are patient with the process and support our efforts as we enter this new business," Patterson concluded.
As a follow-up to the press release issued last week, DMEA staff said, "The board has been investigating this potential for more than a year and has continued to do due diligence. Based on current information, they felt that the time is right to move forward."
At their March 5 meeting Commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes made two appointments to the county planning commission. Steve Shea was reappointed for a three-year term.