2020 “The Year of the Pandemic” brought a unique set of challenges to Vistabeam and all of the communities in our service area. The school and business shutdowns, health concerns and massive disruption to our lifestyles lead to changes that showed how important broadband is for our education, work and entertainment needs. The increased load on networks was a challenge for many providers, but Vistabeam was ready for the demand and responded with a massive surge of construction to increase capacity and coverage of our service areas in Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado.
We were very fortunate to have great partners to work with. The States of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming worked with us to utilize grant funds from State Programs and the Federal CARES Act to accelerate our network upgrades and expand into several new areas where broadband was desperately needed. A strong and steady push throughout the year put us two years ahead of schedule on our planned network upgrades and expansions and speeds up to 100MB are now available in a large portion of the Vistabeam service area. Vistabeam worked with the City of Scottsbluff to purchase a new infrastructure facility, purchase upgraded equipment, and add ten new full-time positions. This improved our construction capacity and the capabilities of our teams to respond to customer needs. Vistabeam is also a Microsoft AirBand partner and this partnership focused on improving digital training skills, marketing our services to more people, and establishing the Lifeline and Emergency Broadband Program services for low-income or at-risk customers.
Here is a state-by-state breakdown of Vistabeam’s major accomplishments in 2020:
- Additional capacity turned on in Akron and at Denver NOC
- CBRS and Access Point upgrades in Sterling, Washington and Yuma Counties
- Completion of Colorado Broadband Fund grant in Jackson County
- New backbone upgrades to Fleming and Fort Morgan
- New towers secured in Fort Morgan and Brush for 2021 Upgrades
- New towers at brought online at Highlands Road, Harrisburg South, Potter and the Scottsbluff
Soccer Field Water Tank
- CARES Act Broadband projects completed in Banner, Chase, Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Perkins and Scotts Bluff Counties including upgraded microwave backhauls and a wide- scale deployment of new Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) access points using CBRS spectrum that can serve more customers than previous systems
- Fiber backhaul upgrades to improve capacity in Henry, Morrill and Scottsbluff areas
- Middle mile fiber project completed between Torrington and Morrill, NE adding massive backbone capacity into Goshen County
- Coverage extended to Centennial and Wild Horse Ranch areas in Albany County
- CARES Act Broadband projects completed in Centennial, Wild Horse Ranch and other areas around Albany County, Hartville and Guernsey in Platte County, Hawk Springs in Goshen County
- Backbone upgrades in Lusk, Glenrock, Lingle and Laramie
- New towers in place in rural Niobrara County, northern Goshen County and southern Converse County for 2021 backbone and access points upgrades
How do you follow a year like 2020? With a continued strong effort to upgrade and expand quality broadband service to even more people. All the work done in 2020 laid a great foundation for success in 2021 as we work to enable 100MB speeds to all of our customers, expand into new service areas in Wyoming and Northern Colorado, and start deploying hybrid fiber and wireless networks in towns all over our service area. The team at Vistabeam is committed to bringing extraordinary connections to all of our customers in 2021!