Thursday night was an electric night at LAUNCH's monthly Beer & Business meetup. The topic for the night was broadband, a.k.a. fast internet. It's something we all want, but as attendees were quick to point out, it's something our city desperately needs.
City Councelmember Rick Taggart joined us to discuss his position on the city investing in a fiber network that can bring world-class internet to the homes and businesses in Grand Junciton, and at some points the discussion got lively.
It all remained civil, however, and I think we all agreed that this is not a nice-to-have. It is a must-do. I think that we can all agree that it needs to be done right, but we must keep moving forward if we are going to keep pace with the cities—some not so far away—who are moving full steam ahead.
Erin McIntyre from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel was there to document the evening:
It’s not a matter of whether Grand Junction should get fiber internet, it’s how it should go about doing it, a Grand Junction city councilman told a group of high-tech entrepreneurs on Thursday night.
But the city needs to be very deliberate and cautious about not only the costs of installing such infrastructure, but also costs of operating that broadband once it’s installed, Councilor Rick Taggart told attendees at LAUNCH West CO’s event.
Taggart approached the group to clarify his position on bringing high-speed internet to the city, after he and other council members announced at a workshop last month that they wanted to rethink their strategy.
Attendees urged Taggart to push for open access of the network, which would prevent one company from controlling the service for customers, and to have government install the infrastructure so companies can compete and grow.
“We don’t have to hand our infrastructure to a single utility company,” said Colter Lovette, president of 32Waves, which offers a high-speed internet called SkyFiber.
Lovette lobbied for providing an infrastructure for companies to serve customers, to create a marketplace for them to do business without shutting out competition.