For tourists and residents alike, much of Colorado is one amazing vista after the next. I nearly circumnavigated it on a recent trip and was re-blown away at how incrediblely beautiful it is (recommendation: stop by Great Sand Dunes National Park).
But those incredible mountains are a two-way street. The same ridges that make it great ski country make it awful wireless country. All those mountains make it hard to provide ubiquitous wireless access - leave the interstate or urban areas behind and you are lucky to see the old "1x" show up on your smartphone.
When I go on vacation, I like to remain connected to find weather reports, directions to my next destination, local cafes, etc. And like just about everyone, I really like to be connected where I live. The private telecom sector gets a failing grade for serving both residents and vacationers.
Don't forget that Colorado is one of the nineteen states that have barriers to publicly owned networks despite the refusal of cable and DSL companies to build next-generation networks. We've frequently written about Longmont's efforts to improve its broadband access despite that legislation.
Senate Bill 12-129 aims to identify areas of the state lacking sufficient acess to the Internet and seeking solutions. A local newspaper reported on testimony from local businesses suffering from the lack of investment:
Wendell Pryor, director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corp., testified to the impacts of limited bandwidth on businesses in that area.
Princeton Hot Springs Resort, an economic driver that generates the second-highest amount of sales tax among businesses in Chaffee County, is unable to process credit cards electronically when bandwidth traffic is high.
"The broadband is simply not sufficient to allow them to do that, so it's done manually," Pryor said.
He said Monarch Ski Resort, which anchors the winter tourist season in Chaffee County, asks the staff to shut off their computers in order to have adequate broadband availability for skiers and...