By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
The Moffat County Commissioners received confirmation from NC Telecom that the Colorado State Patrol telecommunications loop has been completed and it is up and running. The project was the last major piece remaining for the Moffat County Public Safety Center initiative.
NC Telecom will now concentrate on building a local network in Craig and other surrounding communities, and plans to open an office at 540 Russell Street this summer.
"Moving into an office in Craig by July 1 is a goal that we are adamant about," said Dennie Mecham, general manager of NC Telecom. "Services will be real limited when we first open we want to get the county's services up and running, and then move on to the private sector sometime after that. It shouldn't be too long for private businesses and consumers to have service."
What the basic price structure will be is not yet available, as the state has not yet released their price structure for the statewide Multi-Use Network (MNT) on which NC Telecom will base its prices, he said.
NC Telecom already has at least one private customer. The company is leasing some of it's T1 lines to UBET Communications for UBET's project to offer digital service in Craig, and might jointly use the office space at 540 Russell Street, Mecham said.
The Commissioners also signed the contract amendments that codified the extra security the Commissioners wanted for the State Patrol loop and prepaid services NC Telecom will be providing, while allowing NC Telecom to receive long-term funding from the Rural Utility Service a key component for the companies viability. Moffat County is listed as the "second secured party", and all companies that acquire an interest in NC Telecom will have a contractual obligation to provide DS3 services as stated in the county's original contract with NC Telecom, which was signed in December of 1999.
The Commissioners also authorized a payment of $333,332.34 to NC Telecom, which became due on the completion of the State Patrol project. The county will retain $466,666, the remaining two-thirds of the prepaid services contract as security for the State Patrol loop and the county's prepaid services.
The Commissioners were excited and relieved that the project, and the contract negotiations, were completed.
"I want to commend Dennie and NC Telecom for bargaining in good faith with us," Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson said. "Part of our original deal was that we would deal with any hitches in financing or anything that came up during the process as they happened, and that was done. A good part of this deal was done with a handshake, and both Dennie and NC Telecom worked hard to make this all come together."
The county administration will begin working on what services will be offered to various county entities, such as the schools and the library. Tom Morley, information systems supervisor for Moffat County, will begin prioritizing what is needed and what can be afforded, Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.