by Dallas Heltzell on
ESTES PARK — The Town of Estes Park sent surveys by email to area businesses on Monday as part of its research into establishing a broadband utility within the current Light and Power service area. A random selection of residents also will be surveyed.
The survey, which will provide data on customer preferences for Internet service and pricing models, is being conducted by independent researchers at Colorado State University and Discovery Research Group. Customers will first receive a phone-call invitation to provide an email address so they may receive a link to the 10-minute online survey.
Conducting the survey follows a recent recommendation from an independent consultant that a utility owned by the town would be the only feasible option to expand broadband Internet service in the Estes Valley. Outreach to the community during the study resulted in significant support for offering high-speed, reliable and affordable Internet service.
To understand whether it can undertake this project, the town of Estes Park also is reviewing construction costs, financial models and funding options. A key component to these factors is the completion of a detailed engineering design, for which the town submitted a grant application to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for approximately $1.4 million. The town expects to learn the status of the grant application in March.