On Monday, June 21, Mountain View Electric Association and Conexon Connect invited members of the media, elected officials, and community leaders to attend “Closing the Digital Divide” kickoff events in Black Forest and Limon.
From MVEA and Conexon Connect leadership to Colorado State Senators and Representatives, one theme was shared by all of those who spoke: access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.
Together, MVEA and Conexon Connect will launch and deploy a nearly 5,800-mile fiber-to-the-home network to MVEA members, providing high-speed internet access to portions of Arapahoe, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln, Pueblo, and Washington counties. The project will reach 100% of MVEA’s co-op territory with fiber internet upon completion.
Broadband supporters included remarks from:
Governor Jared Polis:
“Access to fast, reliable internet is important for our economy and Colorado families. From helping a student log on for virtual learning to powering a conference call for Colorado’s small businesses helping them reach new customers and markets, universal broadband connects us all,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “I’m thrilled to see this partnership between Mountain View Electric Association and Conexon Connect come to life as it will transform central Colorado’s ability to connect within the state and across the world.”
Joe Martin, Board President, Mountain View Electric Association:
“All of us know that the digital divide in our service territory is vast. The communities we serve are lightyears behind their urban counterparts in terms of technology and the opportunities available for economic development, education, modern healthcare, and more,” said Joe Martin, Board President, MVEA. “We are here today to announce plans to change that reality for 100% of Mountain View Electric Association members.”
Jim Herron, CEO, Mountain View Electric Association
“It seems fitting that as we celebrate 80 years of powering possibilities through decades of innovation and industry changes, that we announce our plans to bring fiber-to-the-home broadband to our co-op communities to bridge the digital divide,” Jim Herron, CEO, Mountain View Electric Association. “This decision by MVEA’s Board of Directors continues their dedication to our membership and further illustrates their concern for community – one of our founding cooperative principles.”
Randy Klindt, Partner, Conexon:
“This partnership with Mountain View Electric Association is an exciting opportunity for our 2 companies to come together to find the best way to connect members and improve their lives with high-speed broadband,” Randy Klindt, Conexon Partner said. “Jim Herron’s forward-thinking team is poised to bring big changes to rural Colorado, and we are grateful to be a part of it.”
Teresa Ferguson, Director of Federal Broadband Engagement, Colorado Broadband Office:
“Broadband literally puts the world at our fingertips – providing options for how and where we work, learn, and receive medical care,” Teresa Ferguson, Director of Federal Broadband Engagement, Colorado Broadband Office. “In 1941, MVEA’s founders turned the lights on. This investment will allow its members to ride the light, enabling possibilities the founders could only have imagined.”
Anthony Martinez, Executive Director, Colorado Broadband Office:
“This is a big deal, a tremendous investment, and it’s for rural Colorado,” said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director, Colorado Broadband Office. “I look at [broadband] as infrastructure just like highways, roads, and electric. It is the way of the future – it’s a big part of our economy and development. We’ve seen growth in every single county, and it’s a challenge. So, it is a big deal that we are all stepping up, including our cooperatives, to look at the rural communities and bring broadband and infrastructure to all.”
Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-District 9):
“It’s a perfect example of the people of a community coming together to invest in themselves in a way that enriches the lives of their community,” said, Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-District 9). “Jim, Joe, and the entire Mountain View Electric Association Board, thank you for what you’re doing; thank you for bringing this to the people of El Paso County and the seven other counties you serve.”
Representative Tim Geitner (R-District 19)
“I look at broadband as no different than asphalt – it is very much the digital roads and bridges through which commerce, education, telehealth, and even connectivity with family across the United States and around the world take place. The ability to connect with family and friends is critical in maintaining a positive outlook on everything around us.” said Rep. Tim Geitner (R-District 19) “As I look at rural portions of El Paso County and rural portions of Colorado, I think the impacts and opportunities that broadband provides are just monumental.”
Commissioner Carrie Geitner (El Paso County, R-District 2)
“El Paso County has a broadband strategic plan. When I started to look at what Mountain View Electric is going to be offering to its membership, I realized they are literally going to nearly complete the plan we thought would take considerably longer, but in a much shorter amount of time,” said Commissioner Carrie Geitner (El Paso County, R-Dist. 2). “Bringing very affordable and lightning-fast speeds of fiber to our residents is going to be life changing, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. Mountain View Electric has been a pillar in the community for a long time. I know the trust they have earned in the community through providing fabulous service will serve them well as they take on this new endeavor.“
Representative Richard Holtorf (R-District 64)
“You’re also reaching out of Colorado Springs and coming into eastern Colorado – making a commitment to rural people to put in fiber, and that’s a game changer,” said Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-District 64). “MVEA’s partnership with Conexon is a partnership that works, and it will greatly benefit our rural communities. My hats off to MVEA for their vision, their leadership and their foresight.”
Troy McCue, Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation
“MVEA has a long history of supporting rural economic development in its communities,” said Troy McCue, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation. “Adequate broadband is an essential utility that will help bring young working families back to rural economies. This project is a game changer.”
Greg Tacha, Town Manager, Town of Limon
“This is exciting to Limon and the surrounding rural communities,” said Greg Tacha, Town Manager, Town of Limon. “I lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Once my wife and I had a child who was starting middle school, we wanted to move out of the city and ‘get home’. If we can get broadband service out to rural Colorado, I know you will find more people, like me, who will find a way to be here.”
Jonathan Chambers, Partner, Conexon
“As I drove home the other day from Mountain View Electric Association, I took the direct route past Twin Lakes and over Independence Pass,” Jonathan Chambers, Partner, Conexon said. “As always, I marveled at the scenery. And I marveled at the poles, transmission and distribution lines that connect rural Colorado to the electric grid. Using the tools and machines of the 1930s and 1940s, our parents and grandparents built electric networks all across this state. Today, we can build a fiber network anywhere there’s an electric line. The announcement today is historic – MVEA is building the largest fiber-to-the-home network in Colorado. We are thrilled to be part of it.”
A highlight video of the project announcement is available on MVEA’s social media channels.