Buena Vista – CenturyLink representatives will meet with Gunnison County commissioners in February to provide a status update and build a schedule for completing a fiberoptic connection between Buena Vista and the Western Slope running over Cottonwood Pass.

The broadband cable installation was scheduled to happen concurrently with finishing the paving of the pass last year, but, as with the rest of the road project, it faced delays from fall snowstorms among other unexpected construction delays, CenturyLink global account manager Stephanie Meisse said.

During construction on the pass, which began in earnest in 2017, crews laid a conduit under the road.

Once completed, the fiberoptic connection would provide much-needed redundancy to the internet provider’s middle-mile infrastructure in Colorado.

Data is distributed by service providers from the middle-mile infrastructure to individual homes and businesses, the so-called last mile.

With redundant infrastructure, damage to the fiberoptic line is less likely to cause service outages, as secondary avenues of communication would still exist between places like Buena Vista and large data centers like Denver, where carrier hotels connect directly to the World Wide Web.

The downside of a middle-mile infrastructure without redundancy was made apparent in 2017, when three significant outages of internet and phone hit Buena Vista in the span of four months. An outage occurred again in 2018, when service was out for several days during the July Fourth weekend due to fiberoptic line being damaged by a wildfire in Costilla and Huerfano counties.

The Chaffee County Times in Buena Vista is published by Arkansas Valley Publishing Co., the parent company of The Mountain Mail.

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