Officials and community members were invited to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch to celebrate a communication milestone much like many years ago when the first phone lines reached the area.
Loveland Pulse’s community-owned, 100% fiber-optic internet, voice, and PulseTV services are now available to the residents and businesses around Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch and Ellis Ranch was made possible with funds provided by Larimer County.
In February 2022, Larimer County Commissioners approved an amended intergovernmental agreement (IGA) allowing Pulse to deliver internet to underserved areas of the county. Money allocated from the county’s recovery fund was made available for the purpose of building high-bandwidth infrastructure on an expedited timeline to Larimer County residents deemed to be critically underserved. The costs of the expansion were billed to Pulse and then reimbursed by the county.
Recently, Sylvan Dale owners and staff, the Larimer County Board of Commissioners, the City of Loveland Mayor and City Council, and staff and partners of Loveland Pulse celebrated this connectivity plan becoming a reality. Like the benefits the first phone service in the area gave these communities, the new broadband connectivity will also be a big leap forward.
“As a northern Colorado institution, my family has been curating wonderful experiences for visitors and attracting tourism to the region since 1946. In the digital age, we have been compromised with poor connectivity, as many potential guests are simply unable to be unplugged for long periods of time, so they do not come to visit,” said Susan Jessup, owner of Sylvan Dale Ranch. “Having fiber-optic broadband is going to revolutionize the way we’re able to serve guests – and who we are able to serve. Having the highest quality internet available today will make our destination appealing to a far more broad audience – and we can’t wait to invite the world to Loveland and Sylvan Dale Ranch.”
The backbone of broadband network construction near Sylvan Dale began with connectivity improvements for the Lago Vista mobile home park and Drake-Waltonia communities through a partnership with Larimer County, the Loveland Pulse, and Thompson School District. A 2021 Connecting Colorado Students grant awarded to Thompson School District aimed to solve an equity issue for students in Drake and Lago Vista Mobile Home Community, who were deemed to be critically underserved. The additional funds provided by Larimer County in 2022 allowed the backbone connecting Drake to the Pulse network to serve Sylvan Dale and surrounding areas.
“Ensuring that everybody in our service territory has access to the highest quality connectivity to work, study, access health care, and play is the reason Pulse exists,” said Brieana Reed-Harmel, Pulse fiber manager. “As a Loveland-owned utility, our only responsibility is to make the digital lives of the community better. We understand the unique needs of the people and businesses in this area because we are the people in this area. We are so grateful for our partnership with Larimer County allows us to make this critical resource accessible to even more members of the community.”
The areas funded for expansion by State and County money have high student populations with connectivity issues. Based on previous data speed test results and broadband mapping, Larimer County identified these as high-priority areas for broadband expansion. Larimer County contributed $500,000 to the initial Lago Vista and Drake Waltonia projects and full funding for the Sylvan Dale project.
“Larimer County is proud of the innovative work done by this partnership,” said Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally. “We are excited to find ways to connect some of our rural communities with the reliable, high-speed broadband provided by Loveland Pulse.
Together we are working to eliminate the digital inequity between rural and urban areas in our community. We look forward to continuing to collaborate on this community-owned broadband unity.”