County approves Beanpole contract

Three years after a $1.37 million state grant was awarded to Northwest Colorado for telecommunication services, county commissioners Tuesday inked a contract to start receiving those services in Moffat County.

"We've all had a lot of brain damage over the last three years in this," Commissioner Les Hampton said in wrapping up an hour-long public comment period about the deal for which commissioners invited the Beanpole project's Steamboat Springs manager to respond to concerns.

In the end, the contract had the commissioners' unanimous backing.

"At this time and place, it's in the best interests of Moffat County," said Commissioner Darryl Steele.

Under the deal approved Tuesday, Moffat County will get data-only telecommunication links at 15 facilities operated by the county.

"It does not give you email or a Web host ... that's the responsibility of each entity," said Winnie DelliQuadri, who has managed the Northwest Colorado Beanpole project on behalf of the city of Steamboat Springs -- the fiscal agent for the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council.

NC Telecom could provide those uncovered extras "at no charge" over the life of the grant, DelliQuadri added.

The Beanpole project does cover one-time installation charges and monthly use fees for three years. Users may dump or continue a service in the end, or terminate it early and pay penalties.

"As the county utilizes these services its account is credited," DelliQuadri said.

Rick Heming, NC Telecom's operations manager, has said the services would be ready "seven to 10 days" after signing the contract.

Commissioners last week held off signing the deal at the request of resident Lolly Hathhorn, who asked

for time to review the contract's terms.

DelliQuadri said entities have until June 30 to sign contracts for Beanpole-eligible services. Funds not allocated would be returned to the state, she said.

NC Telecom last August was awarded a $775,000 contract to connect public entities in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties to the state's multi-use network, a system built by Qwest and designed to bring high-speed telecommunications to each county seat.

Heming, in public meetings last November, had said the services outlined would be available by late December 2002, while NC Telecom's contract with the YVEDC calls for availability in Craig by Dec. 9, 2002.

Heming has pointed to Qwest for the delays.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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