Hickenlooper, De Beque seek improved broadband Internet

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.(KJCT) Governor John Hickenlooper told the state Thursday he wants to improve Colorado’s access to high speed Internet.

He said only 70 percent of homes have currently have access.

"Fiber optic cables are today's power-lines for farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses," he said. "They helped us pull out of the Great Recession now we need to pull together for them."

On the Western Slope, in the town of De Beque, many are still using dial-up, but town leaders are hoping to launch fiber internet later this month.

"The very lowest speed will be five times faster than our best DSL that we have right now," said De Beque Town Administrator Lance Stewart.

Stewart said De Beque is expected to have the fastest internet speed in Mesa County.

The De Beque Fire Protection District currently pays $500 a month to connect to efficient high speed Internet.

"It’s very important for us to have the same type of internet access as our counterparts in the city do," said Fire Chief Mile Harvey.

Harvey said the connection will help save money, and better Internet means faster access in case of an emergency.

"All kinds of different ways we can reach out to the public through social media, and alert the town if we do need help, evacuations, whatever it may be,” said Harvey.

Stewart hopes the new tool can be used for economic development.

"It will open a lot of doors. We’re really hoping people will take a look at De Beque, businesses especially, that have to have broadband and they need it now,” said Stewart.

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