Fiber optics, grant money come to airport

ALAMOSA — Pilots, travellers and airport employees will soon have high-speed access to fiber optic internet at San Luis Valley Regional Airport. Alamosa County Commissioners approved Jade Communications to use airport property to expand their network, which in turn provides their service to the terminal.

“Our goal is to push fiber optics broadband out every single day,” said Jade Communications General Manager Alan Wehe. “We’re burying about 50 to 100 miles of fiber every year and we started doing that in 1995.”

The lines of fiber would run along Old Sanford Road—which the airport runway intersects—to connect Alamosa, Sanford and La Jara.

Jade Communications will also install three drop points at the airport, one of which could be utilized by the future weather radar. The installing of network drop points is free, but the gigabit service will still be paid.

“All [SLV Regional Airport Manager] Dustin [Allinger] has to do is take his Ethernet cable and plug it into the fiber and get the high-speed broadband that he desires and needs,” Wehe said.

The service will also aid Boutique Air pilots who currently rely on satellite communication. “When they come in their pilots have to calculate a load factor every time before they fly out,” Allinger said, “and they require an internet connection.”

The construction will not impact airport service.

“The boring required begins at one end of the safety area of the runway and ends at the other end of the safety area,” said Allinger. “There won’t be any equipment or men inside of the safety area.”

Alamosa County Administrator Gigi Dennis also announced at the meeting that the airport received a $6,230,240 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for the runway rehabilitation project. Now that the funding is secure the airport will soon award a bid and construction can begin on resurfacing and installing new lights.

“This is like Christmas,” Dennis said.