Rural Broadband

In April of 2018 SB19-002 was signed into law, also know as the Rural Broadband “level playing field” https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-002

Parts of the valley to get HIgh Speed Internet via Fiber Optic Cable through SLVRE https://www.alamosanews.com/article/broadband-coming-to-saguache-county

What is the difference between broadband and high speed internet?

High speed internet  generally refers to an always “on” connection at the distant end, in this case your home or business, that provider higher speeds than dial up connections.   All cell phones that operate on LTE or 4G networks are by definition “high speed”.  SB19-002 quantified this speed as more than 4, but less than 10mps (megabits per second).

Broadband generally refers to the service end of the connection.  Broadband connections can be used to bring high speed internet to a group of customers.

‘Neither the term “broadband” or “high speed” is accurate in describing what sort of service the customer might recieve.  Looking at distributed internet services through a ‘water and pipe’ metaphor can help us better understand this complex collection of technologies.

Water moves through a pipe from a water source to a faucet or other delivery system.   How much water moves through that pipe depends on a few things – the size of the pipe, the water pressure (how fast water moves), and how long the faucet are open all impact the amount of water that leaves the faucet.  Do you pay for the size of the pipe, the speed of the water, or the amount water that leaves the faucet?   What if you need to send water to another customer, at the end of a different pipe?  Does the system support sending and receiving at high speeds, or just receiving?

Internet providers price their models differently, based on whether speed (upload/download), volume of data moved, or number of connections is most important.  For most consumers, download speed is the top priority.  For business customers, it’s not so black and white.  A company that regularly does video teleconferences will quickly blow past download limits, and can incur huge bills as a result.  In fact, the faster the connection, the faster download caps will be reached.   A business that does remote software development may value fast upload speeds as much as they do fast download speeds, and will require different technology to drive revenue.

Remote sensing and monitoring solutions, growing in popularity among agricultural customers, use simple text messaging technology to query systems and provide status and alarm messaging.  For these internet users, reliability and “up time” is far more important than high speed streaming (aka Netflix).

To truly take advantage of the telework industry, broadband internet access needs to be available that meets all-of-the-above.  The modern corporate environment is a global one, with worldwide distributed teams working on solutions across time zones.  “My internet went down” is the digital equivalent of  “my dog ate my homework”.

Telework is a huge growth and employment opportunity for Saguache County and the San Luis Valley.  Telework allows residents to become ‘economic commuters’, receiving salary and benefits in a time zone with a high cost of living, while living and working in a community with a lower cost of living.  The range of telework jobs available is broad and opportunities for advancements are many.  Entry level jobs are available in data entry, medical billing, web design, business writing, and analysis. Many of these jobs require no college education and provide their own employee training programs.  Advanced telework jobs are not limited at the professional level, as many tech CEOs, directors, and managers work far from their companies headquarters.