Meetings planned as part of broadband development efforts

A series of meetings have been scheduled as part of plans to promote better access to high-speed Internet services in Grand Junction.

The meetings are set for Feb. 3 and 4 in the auditorium at  Grand Junction City Hall, 250 N. Fifth St. Different meetings are planned to gather comments from different sectors of the local business community.

On Feb. 4, a meeting for businesses is set for 9 to 10:30 a.m., followed by a session for the health care sector from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the education sector from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and electronic government sector from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

On Feb. 5, a meeting for Internet service providers is set for 9 to 10:30 a.m. followed by sessions for the real estate and construction sector from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the technology sector from 1 to 2:30 p.m., lodging sector from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. and general community from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.

In addition to the meetings, the City of Grand Junction is conducting online surveys. A link to the surveys is available on the city Web site at www.gjcity.org under the city spotlight section. Additional information is available by sending an e-mail to broadband@gjcity.org.

The meetings are part of a broadband master planning process in which the City of Grand Junction is working on ways to insure access to high-speed Internet services. The plan is expected to provide direction related to code enhancements that will promote the construction of broadband infrastructure as part of capital, utility and land development projects.

Last year, city voters approved a referred ballot measure to override state legislation banning the city from directly or indirectly providing Internet and cable television services.

Members of the Grand Junction City Council said at that time there’s no intention for the city to provide broadband communications services, but they needed authority to at least have conversations with businesses that do. City officials since have begun working with economic development and regional government groups as well as private sector partners to explore ways to increase bandwidth.

The City of Grand Junction also has joined more than 90 cities across the country in Next Century Cities, an initiative to insure the availability of fast and reliable Internet services.

Next Century Cities supports communities in their efforts to access fast, affordable and reliable Internet services. The initiative offers information about  gaining access to high-quality Internet services, pursuing partnerships between the public and private sectors and developing municipal networks.