Broadband in Norwood becomes priority in 2017
Between 2008 and 2010, Tri-State Generation and Transmission put a fiber cable in the ground from Nucla to Norwood. Then, landowners signed an easement that permitted the construction of that of that line.
Last year, the Telluride Foundation started a movement to get landowners to sign another easement, one that would light the fiber cable up to distribute broadband internet in the west ends of San Miguel and Montrose counties.
Then, just 15 of the 75 required signatures were obtained to push the project through.
This year, Erika Lapsys of the Telluride Foundation said she hopes to change that. Making broadband happen for Norwood is a now a high priority.
Broadband access, she said, isn’t about watching Netflix. Having good internet is for improving the community’s infrastructure. The fiber line would first connect to the Town of Norwood’s government, as well as Uncompahgre Medical Center, Lone Cone Library and the Norwood School.
Next businesses would receive broadband, and Lapsys said that means efficiency in running credit cards. It also means improved business for those that work from home.
Lapsys said she wants all to know that the Telluride Foundation receives no financial gain from supporting the broadband project.
“We want the community to benefit from a highway not being used,” she said. “Every community needs to have it — it’s the way of the future.”
In fact, nobody is profiting from the broadband easements. On the contrary, she said existing internet companies are the ones already making a fortune and by providing service that is not high quality. According to Lapsys, Norwood may have use of the internet, but folks are not getting what they are paying for.
She said the Town of Silverton approved a broadband project, and the whole town has since benefitted and saved money.
“In Silverton people were getting internet, one megabyte for $100 a month. When town got better broadband through fiber, it’s now 100 megabytes for $50 a month,” she said. “The reality is it’s a better deal.”
Lapsys said that concerned landowners need not worry about people coming onto their property. She said only representatives from Tri-State would access a property, and that would be just for maintenance.
In addition, all landowners who sign the broadband easement are eligible for a tax credit.
As of Jan. 1, the State of Colorado has deemed the local area an “enterprise zone,” and area that is officially deemed by government to be economically underdeveloped. For this reason, anyone who invests in or donates money toward the local enterprise zone is eligible for a tax break. That could be significant for those who own a sizable amount of land, Lapsys said.
Anyone with questions about the broadband project or the tax credit should reach out to the Paradox Community Trust, or contact Bob Ilg of Norwood.
Already, many community leaders are in support the broadband project, she said. That includes Sheila Grother, Terri Snyder Lamers and Patti Grafmyer.
Lapsys said all are invited to visit the website www.westendbroadband.org and to come forward with their stories of why good Internet in Norwood is important.