After a summer of internet and cell outages, high-speed public Wi-Fi has made its way to Harrison Avenue.
Thanks to a partnership between Lake County and the Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation, residents and tourists will be able to access redundant internet along the avenue year-round.
Charter Communications and CenturyLink outages, some of which have closed businesses countywide, have led to a loss in sales tax revenue, resident wages and faith in public safety, said LLCEDC Executive Director Mike Bordogna.
The new public network is connected to CenturyLink and Colorado Central Telecom fiber optic networks. If one link fails, all public Wi-Fi traffic will be carried to the other.
“We want to show that we have resilient internet access up here,” Lake County IT Director Johnny Aird told the Herald.
Nine access points currently line the roofs of Harrison Avenue’s buildings, beaming signals downward along the stretch. By the end of the month, Aird hopes to grow the network’s infrastructure to 15 access points with ballasted antenna mounts instead of the current staging tripods.
“It’s really cool to see people have that community support,” said Bordogna of local building owners who have allowed installation of the network’s radio frequency antennas on their rooftops free of charge.
The network does not compete with local shops offering Wi-Fi; the connection is only available outside of buildings.
In the case of a Charter or CenturyLink outage, telecommuters will be able to work from seating areas along the avenue while merchants will be able to process credit card transactions by walking out their doors.
Residents will also be able to make calls via internet along the stretch, easing public safety concerns during Charter or CenturyLink outages.
Additionally, the new infrastructure will make it easy for Aird to set up a segregated vendor Wi-Fi network at Leadville’s many festivals.
“We felt it necessary to show the public and community that there are reliable internet options and that you can conduct business in Leadville,” said Bordogna.