Red Feather may see broadband ‘relief’ by mid-summer

Officials from CenturyLink came to Red Feather Lakes on May 3 to hear from citizens unhappy with Internet and phone service, and to promise faster broadband speeds in the near future, at least in the Village.

“We are working on a project that will provide relief in the Village by early to mid-summer,” Alan Davis, CenturyLink’s area operations manager for Northern Colorado, told the Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee and about a dozen members of the public. “We should be able to provide 5 to 6 Mbps within 4,000 feet of our building (in the Village).”

Outlying areas, such as Crystal Lakes, will not see the same increase in speed by then, he said, but when more bandwidth is available, everyone’s speed goes up. Several people living beyond the Village told the PAC that they rarely achieve the 1.5 Mbps service currently promised by the company. The unreliability of the service keeps them and others from effectively telecommuting, which seriously affects the local economy, they said.

Davis said projects to provide more consistent service in surrounding areas will be moved up on the company’s list of priorities. He added that the company’s engineers had worked to increase bandwidth in the area late last year, but growing demand for video streaming and other services has maxed it out again.

“We need a long-term plan that will allow us to expand our pipeline to stay ahead of consumer demand,” he said.

He pointed out that such upgrades are expensive, and that as a public company, CenturyLink has to make decisions on how to invest its capital effectively.

While Davis distributed his business card to the group so they could discuss their issues directly with him, he also said that it was important for customers to report any service problems to CenturyLink’s customer service department to create a “trouble ticket.” That creates a history that can be tracked, he said.

PAC member Lucille Schmitt pointed out that when phone calls don’t go through, business owners usually don’t know something’s wrong unless the caller contacts them on a cell phone. Several audience members pointed out that with greater availability and reliability of cell service, they are dropping their land-line service altogether.

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