Cortez may be a rural community, but it is determined to deliver its businesses and residents the same level of broadband service residents of urban areas enjoy. The vision, persistence, and city staff, including Rick Smith, are moving forward to achieve just that. The city's community members and staff see the internet's potential for economic development and understand the need to provide a modern infrastructure.
Cortez began by creating its own fiber connection in 2001, expanding to include county buildings, schools, the hospital, and all remaining city facilities by 2005. With DOLA grants and a creative approach by city staff, the next step was a “Fiber to the Business” program which helped provide Osprey Packs the fiber connectivity needed so they could make Cortez their international headquarters.
Today fiber installation ringing the city is almost complete and a pilot project was recently initiated in which the City is serving as a broadband provider for citizens wishing higher speeds than currently available to them from other ISPs. The project offers a higher level of service to citizens while providing the city with much needed data on running such a program smoothly and cost effectively.
In May, the results of a “Feasibility and Business Case Study” for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) was shared with the community with next steps that include an in-depth engineering study to more accurately define the costs of a FTTH project and a citizen survey to gauge their appetite for such a program and their funding preference. The availability of high speed, reliable, affordable broadband has long been a dream for Cortez and will soon become a reality.