"The Next Mile" >> History
Our vision for standardizing and sharing data was conceived of and developed over ten
years ago in the San Luis Valley. Considered an idea ahead of its time,
the project was set aside until September 12, 2001. The day following 9/11 we drove
to the State capital to discuss with government leaders the potential of a statewide
data system that would have tremendous benefit to the state, particularly during times
of national crisis. The system would function as a reverse 911 system, enabling every
city, county, region and state computer to send and receive immediate information with
a single connection, creating a seamless network of critical information between local,
regional and state officials. The basic infrastructure to accommodate this type of
system had not been built out yet. It was said that day, "It's too bad we didn't do
this 10 years ago." We said, "What will they say in 10 years?"
Building the basic infrastructure, a statewide fiber optic backbone referred
to as the Multi-Use Network (MNT), was begun in 1998, in response to a mutually
held vision by business and government which acknowledged that in order for the
state to succeed it would have to be able to operate as a single unit.
Leadership in Colorado saw a benefit in creating a system that would connect
sixty-four county courthouses to the statehouse, allowing for the transmission
of information to the courthouses from the capital and providing a method for
the courthouses to report back. The project was completed in 2002; the fiber
optic was deployed to each of the phone company's central switches in each county
seat and now needs to be pulled to the courthouses and Regional Data set / system
to complete the transport system.
In 2003, when the state of Colorado recognized that the promise of broadband was
not being realized in rural communities, DOLA began looking for projects that could
help these communities benefit from broadband access. We took this opportunity to
re-introduce the 1994 concept of the value of shared "real-time" data sets as a way
to expand the potential of the MNT. By combining the concept of shared "real-time"
data with the model of citizen-based initiatives; 911 and the San Luis Valley GIS/GPS
Authority that had been successfully implemented in the San Luis Valley in the last ten
years, we were able to devise a model that can be duplicated in partnership with
the Colorado Rural Development Council on a statewide basis once the pilot
project is completed.
For more information about the "Next Mile" Project please refer to the
Alamosa County, County Court House