CenturyLink wins battle against Silverton, CO over fiber network

Silverton is the only town in Colorado that does not have a fiber connection to the rest of the state, and with a ruling issued by a judge representing the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, it looks like it might remain that way.

At issue is a $37 million contract Qwest--now CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL)--had to bring fiber-based connections to every county seat by the end of June 2005.

Of course, this is not the end of the fight. Patrick Swonger, a Silverton town trustee, said it would appeal the decision made by Administrative Law Judge G. Harris Adams to the three full-time PUC commissioners.

"We're a little disappointed, but we're not discouraged," Swonger told the Durango Herald. "It's just too important to our future. We're not just going to let this go."

Qwest maintains the reason why it has not built out the fiber network to Silverton is because it could not obtain the necessary rights of way to reach the mountain town. Instead, Qwest gave the town a consolation prize in the form of a microwave broadband link.  

Although CenturyLink maintains that the microwave link provides necessary capacity to Silverton, business owners point out that the microwave system slows down basic activities, including credit card transactions, significantly during the Fourth of July holiday when over 25,000 people come to the town of 550 people. Such delays cause loss of business as customers decide to not complete buying specific items.  

For more:
- The Durango Herald has this article

Related articles:
Colorado town fights Qwest for fiber