Students in Silverton may be enjoying high-speed Internet as soon as next week, if all goes well.
The Internet fiber lines to bring higher speeds to the school have all been laid and connected, said Kim White, superintendent of Silverton Public School.
“I think, as of right this minute, there’s less than an hour’s worth of work to be done to have a full fiber connection,” she said Thursday afternoon.
The connection would be a big step for a community that still relies largely on a microwave link built by Qwest, the company that became CenturyLink.
Silverton remains the only county seat in Colorado that is not connected to the fiber-optic backbone.
“We’ve waited 15 years; we may be down to a day or two,” said Pete McKay, a San Juan County commissioner.
This week, Brainstorm Internet parent company Forethought.net announced its purchase of Vidion, a cable company that serves Silverton, in order to bring high-speed Internet to the area.
Using existing infrastructure, the company will be able to provide homes and businesses up to 100 megabyte speeds in the first phase of build-out. Company CEO Jawaid Bazyar said the goal is to bring the “highest speeds possible at an affordable price,” according to a statement.
At the school, students sometimes can’t stream educational videos because of the inadequate Internet connection, among other web-based tasks. White is hoping that is about to change.
“I am just trusting we are going to see a pretty big difference,” she said.
Even if the project is not finished next week, she is hopeful it will be finished by the end of December.
The connection, which comes via an agreement between EAGLE-Net and CenturyLink, is for the school specifically. EAGLE-Net, an intergovernmental entity created in 2011, was supposed to bring Internet to Silverton as part of a $100 million federal grant to build fiber networks to schools. But the National Telecommunications and Information Administration temporarily suspended the grant because of mismanagement in 2012.
The timeline for supplying the town with high-speed Internet remains uncertain, McKay said. Calls to CenturyLink were not immediately returned.