Editorial: Broadband blues no more
Renee Campbell, publisher
Clay Thorp, reporter
Pete Pleasant, community representative
Desiree Moore, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.
In today’s digital age, it isn’t comforting to know Craig hasn’t yet fully joined the rest of the industrialized world’s instant interconnectedness brought about by fast and reliable internet.
For decades, city officials and many others have beleaguered the point — Craig doesn’t have internet infrastructure robust enough or fast enough to provide residents and businesses with truly fast and reliable web services — so it definitely doesn’t have the internet infrastructure to attract a new generation of business into the area.
The studies have already been done by Moffat County and the City of Craig about the types of businesses just waiting for the right time to make their Craig-American Dream a reality — animal production and aquaculture, oil/gas mineral extraction and the support companies that come with energy production, niche/artisanal product manufacturing, truck transportation, professional/scientific/technical services, construction, healthcare, and tourism. It’s as if these would-be small businesses have been missing something in Craig — something vital to any business large or small.
Maybe finding that something begins with fast and reliable internet here in Craig — but maybe it starts with making sure folks know its importance. Maybe folks need to know exactly what fast internet will mean for this community.
To give you an idea of where Craig stands now in the race for faster internet, the fastest internet speed inside the city limits through a local internet service provider will be about 33 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 11 Mbps upload.
To explain it a different way, a picture of your granddaughter on her birthday or of your dog enjoying a nap in the sun, taken with a typical smart phone is usually about five megabits in size. This means you can download about seven such photos in one second with a basic internet speed in Craig, America. That may seem fast, but today’s businesses — large and small — need much more breathing room than that.
Imagine having speeds of more than 900 megabits per second. This is the speed at which today’s business world moves — and it gets faster every day. Moffat County and Craig have yet to harness much of the opportunity that will come with these increased speeds — especially the opportunity to attract a broader business and commercial tax base using internet speeds that match or exceed those in larger cities.
Audrey Danner and Michelle Perry deserve much of the credit for laying the groundwork for Craig to have these kinds of rural internet speeds. Though their Craig/Moffat Economic Partnership was dissolved, one of Mayor John Ponikvar’s last official acts as mayor was to carry the torch and sign an agreement allowing the Yampa Valley Electric Association to begin installation of fast broadband internet on city-owned easements in town. This fiber-grade internet infrastructure is the future of fast and reliable internet around the globe and this community should feel very fortunate to have it. There are rural communities just like Craig across the US who don’t have our internet plans and their futures are bleak.
But faster and more reliable internet won’t be the one thing that brings businesses to Craig. A new generation of city officials will take the helm April 23. It will be on them to continue to carry this torch; to continue and expand upon the work done for so many decades to keep Craig from slipping into a future where the slow to move are last and the quick to act are first.
It will also be their responsibility to make sure a faster, more reliable internet in Craig is affordable for the residents who live and work here — and whose future small businesses will rely on our internet investments to compete in a global economy.
What often begins as a hobby to pass the time by creating something appealing to the artist or appealing to the eye, to the ear, something tasty or something — anything, can often flower into a real source of income that can help working families in rural economies like ours.