Kit Carson CEO, Luis Reyes, updated our community on the progress of the fiber optic internet project at the Angel Fire Community Center on Friday, February 19. Here is a summary of the meeting:
Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, at the request of Angel Fire Mayor, Barbara Cottam, came to address residents and interested parties about the progress of the fiber optic project and to address concerns. The biggest concerns expressed were a perceived lack of transparency and Kit Carson’s inability to communicate effectively with residents about when their installations would take place. Mr. Reyes acknowledged that communication has been an issue and he invited meeting attendees to put their names on a priority list that he would expedite. How quickly the installation can be done is dependent on whether or not the homeowner already has the fiber box installed on their home. He also gave out his phone number and two other phone numbers for employees at Kit Carson.
Mr. Reyes provided an overall picture of the scope and progress of the project. There have been some staffing and systems issues that have been a bottleneck, but he believes the project has made excellent progress considering the magnitude of the undertaking. Currently work has slowed somewhat because of weather, but will go ahead at full speed after the spring thaw. Some resources have been diverted to hooking up cell towers. Kit Carson has contracts with AT&T and Commnet Wireless, and connecting those towers should significantly improve cell service in the area. CenturyLink also has a contract with Kit Carson, but their “connection” is for redundancy purposes and will not improve their capacity in the near future. Another issue impacting the speed with which customers are being connected is that the demand for the service has exceeded the projections. When the project was started, Kit Carson believed they would have 35% adoption of their service, but it is currently at 60%. The grant covered 5000 drops and they have borrowed money to cover an additional 7000 drops.
Meeting participants were also interested in how Kit Carson is determining priority for installations. Mr. Reyes said that the first priority went to unserved areas (areas with no service whatsoever) and they are now installing in underserved areas. In communities, first priority has been given to what he termed “anchor” institutions- municipal offices, schools, clinics, etc. Mr. Reyes will look into expediting the installation at the Angel Fire library as many residents utilize the library’s wifi connection.
The subject of connections at condominium properties was addressed at some length. Initially when the count was made for the fiber installations, a condominium property was counted as “1” and the individual dwelling units were not counted separately. It remains an open question as to how the installations will be conducted; can individual owners request service or will it be handled at the HOA level? Some properties do not have an HOA. The other question is about whether the signal will be distributed through a wifi network or whether individual units will he hardwired. Mr. Reyes indicated that condominium installations may have to be handled on a case by case basis. There will be another meeting to address how condominium properties will be handled.
A meeting attendee asked about plans for other services such as security and TV service. Mr. Reyes said that they will not be doing security and that it would be a good opportunity for another business. There are no plans to offer TV service. The headend would cost $2 million dollars to build and with the consumer trend toward cable cutting, they don’t believe the investment would be wise.
Overall the participants who attended and are currently receiving service are very happy with the speed and reliability of the service. The only thing that might be affecting speeds is not having an adequate router. Kit Carson maintains a list of preferred routers and does currently have a stock of them. I shared that Goodnight Electronics also stocks their preferred routers and he said that he would put our information on their website.
I wanted the above meeting notes to be a good summary of the meeting and not just a plug for my company, but I do want to let our customers know how we can help. We are stocking routers that work well with the system. We believe we can help with wifi at condominium properties and will be looking into how we can help to deliver that service. We are excited as more and more of our customers get connected to fast, reliable internet. Please look to us as your tech resource for the products and services for your home and business to enhance your experience and productivity online!