Silverton may be isolated geographically, but as of Friday, its school is connected to the world.
The small mountain town has been the only county seat in the state without high-speed Internet, but after years of fits and starts, Silverton School was finally able to test its new fiber-optic high-speed Internet connection before heading out for the winter break. The school reported a speedy connection of 96 megabits per second in its test run.
“We appreciate the support from Sen. (Michael) Bennet and the many, many people who have stood by us and helped us achieve our long-standing goal of a fiber connection to our community,” San Juan County Commissioner Pete McKay said. “To have our public school connected to high-speed Internet is the best Christmas present our community could ever receive.”
The road to the connection has been rocky, involving Eagle-Net, CenturyLink and Brainstorm Internet and its parent company, Forethought Inc., which recently purchased Vidion, a cable company that serves Silverton.
Students had been unable to stream educational videos and perform other web-related tasks because of the slow connections that have been all the town had available, Silverton Public Schools Superintendent Kim White said.
“Thanks to critical interventions (with entities at both the state and federal level),” she said, “the Silverton School will finally be able to access high-speed bandwidths, which will serve to create so many new opportunities for learning for our students.”
When high-speed Internet will be made available to residences and businesses in Silverton has not been announced.