Jade Communications introduces
2-gigabit broadband in the Valley


LOCAL telecommunications pioneer Jade Communications has introduced 2-gigabit broadband service for the town of Manassa in the company’s latest efforts to help small, outlying communities in the San Luis Valley access fast internet.

Jade said it is using emerging technology that gives users in Manassa greater internet capacity than any other community in the state.

“What makes this announcement in Manassa so newsworthy is because there’s never been a community in Colorado that’s had access to this type of internet capacity,” said Josh Wehe (above right), the company’s director of operations.

He goes on to explain, “A lot of people, they build their networks to a 1-gig capacity, and that’s 1,000 megabytes, and that is a good connection. But we don’t want our customers to be good, we want them to have access to great technology and so we took it to the next level.

“This build-out in Manassa allows users – any rooftop, any address, any business – to have access to 2 to 3 gigabytes worth of data, and we’re not burying any cable.”

Why It Matters

Jade is delivering the extra capacity through a “mesh environment” initially developed by Facebook and adopted over the past several years by different vendors. In its simplest description, a “meshed network” is created through direct links between devices.

In the case of what Jade is doing in Manassa, here’s how Jordan Wehe (above left), Jade’s marketing director, describes the install: “What happens is, we put a little coffee-can-shaped object on a user’s home and it creates, synchronously, a network in the sky.”

“If we have five homes to connect,” continued Josh Wehe, “we put units on all of our homes and we all kind of point them at each other and they talk to each other. And they talk in a way that is faster than any network in the state of Colorado.”

There is another benefit to the “mesh environment” that Jade is creating in Manassa which could be attractive to communities that balk at the cost of building faster broadband networks.

“Let’s face it, people don’t want their gardens dug up,” said Wehe of the common fiber optic broadband infrastructure. “People don’t want to have traffic blocked, or cities especially don’t want their water or sewer lines impacted. This allows us to deliver ultimate capacity literally tomorrow.”

Rural Broadband Challenges

A “mesh environment” could be a way for other communities to grow their broadband capabilities. The remote learning environment that COVID-19 has forced onto students, plus the fact that most homes, even in the San Luis Valley, now have multiple wireless devices with family members all trying to connect to the internet at the same time, requires more gigabyte capacity.

Then there are towns like Del Norte and Alamosa, and others, that have attracted newcomers during the COVID-19 pandemic who have opted to flee cities and suburbs for the less-crowded lifestyle of the San Luis Valley. They seek fast internet to satisfy their work habits and lifestyle, and small towns are eager to welcome these remote workers with reliable internet.

“A broadband infrastructure is critical to a town and a community’s success and longevity,” said Jordan Wehe.

Groups working to address the broadband needs of the San Luis Valley have established the San Luis Valley Regional Broadband Collaborative (SLVRBC) and now are seeking an SLV Broadband community relations manager to help. That announcement was put out by the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group and Council of Governments a week ago. 

Josh Wehe said Jade is inclusive in how it delivers broadband, whether it’s through fiber optics, a mesh environment, or antennas that beam signals from towers. “We use all three of those to deliver customers reliable, good internet,” he said.

A more important topic now is network capacity and how to feed all those wireless devices tied to a household’s internet capability, whether in Manassa or elsewhere in the Valley.