A large amount of crews and equipment are working on CR 1 in Ouray installing a fiber optic cable. (Leslie Brown/Montrose Daily Press)

Phase one of a fiber optic line is being installed along County Road 1 in Ouray County as part of a project to bring high speed internet to rural areas and to Ouray County Health Department and other county businesses.

The completion of phase one is to be done by June 30, and the remainder of the project then has two years to be completed in order to qualify for its grant, which Deeply Digital and Clearnetworx accessed for Region 10 and the Ouray County Health Department.

What the project breaks down to is a fiber optic cable being installed from behind the Walmart store in Montrose, to the town of Ouray. This is roughly 47 miles of cable to be installed, and via a route over Log Hill along Ouray County Road 1 to ensure more rural customers can be serviced in the future.

“Deeply Digital strives to bring access to rural communities in western Colorado. We have done projects in Gunnison, Norwood, Telluride, and now Ouray, serving communities that might not get served any other way,” said David Duke, site foreman.

Casey Irving of Deeply Digital said that through the grant Ouray County owns the majority of the fiber cable and Region 10 owns the open access fiber. With this they will be able to offer services to the people on Log Hill Mesa when the project is completed.

“If we had gone down the highway with this cable, we would not have been able to serve as many homes in the future as we can with the route down CR 1. We will keep the route along CR 1 to CR 24 then across to CR 23. This accesses the most rural homeowners as possible,” he said.

Phase one is from Ponderosa road, the entrance to Log Hill Village, along CR 1 down to Colona then down Buckhorn, to Uncompahgre to near the Walmart store.

In Ouray County the cable must be buried 32 inches deep, and in Montrose, 36 inches deep according to Duke. Along CR 1 the cable is buried on the side of the road in the utilities right of way. The crew is encountering boulders and must change sides of the road frequently due to buried water lines and high pressure gas lines.

Deeply Digital’s crews will continue hopscotching down the road as they work, and will change locations when natural features cause difficulties and if more cold temperatures increase the frost line that they are encountering.

For phase one to be considered complete, Deeply Digital must have the cable in and the fiber network pulled through and spliced together. It will bring in larger equipment as needed, to include side-boring equipment that will allow for drilling under the roads, instead of having to dig them up.

Along CR 1 there is a large amount of equipment, people, trucks and traffic cones but it still does not seem to slow down the traffic.

“We keep a close eye out when we are working along here,” Duke said. “The Ouray sheriff did show up at the start of the project and slow people down but we may need them up here again.”

Deeply Digital of Montrose is a fiber contracting company and its sister company, Clearnetworx is a phone and internet service provider. They work hand in hand to bring services to underserved rural areas.

Leslie Brown is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press. 

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