High speed internet is a priority for many businesses and individuals on the Western Slope.
A few months ago, the Delta Montrose Electrical Association asked members how interested they would be in fiber optic internet. Virginia Harman is the Director of Member Relations for the DMEA, and says that the response was loud and clear.
“In response to that feedback from our membership,” says Harman, “the board has approved for DMEA staff to move forward with developing a business plan around providing some sort of high speed internet service.”
They’ll be looking into a few different plans, or set ups that DMEA could possibly have if they supplied internet.
“One that we would be looking at would be where DMEA actually provides internet service to individual DMEA members, that’s business-to-member form. Another form we’d be looking at business-to-business, where DMEA would provide internet to local governments, anchor institutions (medical facilities, law enforcement, schools), and local businesses," she says.
As part of that plan, DMEA will be conducting a survey of its members to see what they want.
"Part of the process of developing our business plan is that we want to do research," says Harman. "Of course we hear from our members, we hear feedback, but that’s voluntary. It’s not quite the same thing as getting full taste of what your membership is thinking, so we are conducting a membership survey. That survey is being conducted by a third party. They will be conducting the surveys in the month of February. They have our membership list and will be doing randomized calls. We will be including some questions to guage our member’s interest in [the DMEA] becoming an internet service provider.”
Harman expects DMEA’s own fiber optic network connecting their substations to be complete by late this year or early 2016.