Brief by Central Staff
Communication – October 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine
Just a year ago, the Internet was an expensive long-distance call from most of Central Colorado. Now there are two local service providers.
First on the scene was Rocky Mountain Internet, which opened a Buena Vista node in late October of 1995. As of this August, Colorado Supernet is also serving the area.
RMI originally wanted to start service in early 1995, but ran into problems with US West — the phone company couldn’t provide enough lines then. Once the lines were in, RMI encountered many other difficulties with US West — which should come as no surprise to telephone customers hereabouts.
“The problem that we run into,” explained Ken Swinehart, RMI rural service director, “is that US West doesn’t seem to have the resources (in people or equipment) to provide quality service. We wait months to get lines installed. They also never can confirm an install date or if they do it is never met. This is not a problem just with the Buena Vista area as it is this way in all rural areas that RMI has Internet dial-in sites.”
Swinehart said there are now about 350 clients at the Buena Vista site, which is also a local call from Salida, Leadville, and Fairplay.
Other parts of Central Colorado use varied nodes to reach RMI with a local call: Westcliffe and Cotopaxi call Cañon City, Gunnison calls Montrose, Saguache calls Center, and Crestone calls Alamosa.
Colorado Supernet’s new node is in Salida, making it a local call from Leadville, Buena Vista, Cotopaxi, and Saguache.
According to the Supernet announcement, “the Salida center has spare capacity, which eliminates busy signals and supports successful first-call Internet access.”
As for busy signals at RMI’s Buena Vista node, Swinehart said RMI has immediate plans to go from 12 to 24 dial-in lines, and to install a higher-capacity cable to the Colorado Springs connection with the Internet backbone. “People are complaining, and we plan to upgrade as soon as US West will provide service.”
Swinehart noted that demand grows, because there are more customers and those customers, over time, tend to stay on-line longer as they find more ways to use the ‘Net. “It seems that there’s a month of busy signals until we get an upgrade completed. We think we give US West enough time, but it never works out that way. We hope that, in a month or so, a new customer will sign up and never realize that there were busy signals just a few days before.”
Our experience here: In 1994, we saw a Colorado Supernet ad in a Vail paper, touting “statewide service.” A phone call revealed that Salida was not in Colorado then.
We’ve been with Rocky Mountain Internet since about two days after they set up shop hereabouts. The service has been rocky at times (backhoe hitting the line, lightning strikes last summer), but repairs have come quickly, as have the answers to our questions.
Besides, we like RMI for deciding that Central Colorado was worth serving at a time when Supernet didn’t even know we were in Colorado.
As for the ‘Net in general, well, it’s been more than useful. Many writers send us stories by e-mail, and we can quickly check revisions with them. The ‘Net is great for many kinds of research. A year ago, we didn’t even have it, and now it’s a necessity.
If you want to know more about either local provider, RMI is at 800-900-7644; Supernet is 303-296-8202.