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Why Local Internet Matters: Connecting Community Anchor Institutions

At Trailblazer Broadband, we’re proud to be known around Estes Park as the only local fiber-to-the-home broadband provider for residents and businesses. But did you know that we also support a third group with our high-speed fiber internet network? Today, we’re taking a moment to celebrate local community anchor institutions.

Read on to learn more about this important group—and how, as a local small business ourselves, Trailblazer Broadband is committed to keeping them connected.

What Are Community Anchor Institutions?

Anchor institutions are mission-based, publicly oriented organizations that provide services essential to our area’s economy, health, safety, culture, and general well-being.

Anchor institutions include hospitals and other medical facilities, emergency services like fire and police, educational organizations, and public services like libraries.  Since Trailblazer is municipally owned by the Town of Estes Park, it is actually part of one of the town’s anchor institutions.

These institutions all play a critical role in our society, and they all depend on reliable access to the internet to function effectively in the 21st-century economy.

Hospitals and Medical Clinics

Universally appreciated by everyone fortunate enough to have one close by, a hospital is an anchor institution that many of us depend on in the starkest moments of our lives. Whether they’re treating chronic illnesses or responding to life-threatening injuries, hospitals and other medical clinics provide critical services every day.

In a recent interview with the Estes Park News (September 8, 2023 edition) about his retirement, Estes Park Health’s CIO, Gary Hall, commented on the internet at EPH during his 18-year tenure, “We had six megabits of internet access when I arrived,” Gary remembered. “Now, with Trailblazer, for which we were strong advocates, and other steps forward, we enjoy internet line redundancy and many gigabits of critical broadband service.”

And in a true health emergency, every second counts. Rapid access to medical records, keen and swift analysis of radiological and similar medical imagery, and urgent consultations among experts—these are often matters of life and death. Thus, perhaps more than anywhere else, having internet as reliable and fast as fiber in our community hospitals and health clinics is most critical.

Beyond the immediate health needs of patients and the broader community, hospitals and medical clinics regularly communicate with both patients and other health professionals. Maintaining a solid internet connection to transmit medical files and even hold telehealth follow-up visits is crucial to the missions of hospitals and medical centers.

Fiber’s bandwidth capacity is substantially larger than other types of internet and can make indispensable communication and data transfers quick and seamless, helping health providers fulfill their calling—and keep our communities healthier and safer at the same time.

 Fire, Police, and Other Emergency Services

Local first responders–the good people of our fire stations, paramedics, and police departments–are our community’s heroes, often putting their own lives at risk to help others. And they are regularly on call at every minute of every hour of the day.

Without the brave and resourceful men and women in fire, police and other emergency services, our community would be far less safe. Thus, it goes without saying that our first responders are anchor institutions in our area, and everyone is grateful for their service.

Reliable communications and connectivity are absolutely critical for these essential services.  As part of the same Town of Estes Park infrastructure, Trailblazer Broadband keeps emergency service providers connected for real-time communications and information about hazards, traffic information, hazardous weather and natural disasters, and other problems our community faces. And fiber keeps fire, police, and paramedics connected to everyone in our community–including to hospitals and emergency rooms–providing an instant connection when and where help is needed most.

Educational Organizations

The quintessential anchor institutions are our schools. Centers of learning are focused on using the best and most creative methods to educate the youth in our community and to provide them with skills and knowledge for success.

Fiber optic technology provides our students with the best opportunity for success. Lessons that are supplemented by audio, video, and interactive elements are immersive, relatable, and inspiring—they teach our kids to engage in the world around them far better than any textbook. And everyone knows that textbooks are not cheap and become outdated quickly. By substituting standard equipment with tablets and devices, schools can save a great deal of money.\

The better the broadband connection, the better those devices perform. The Estes Park School District supports 1,500 devices, a robust server and wireless infrastructure, a security camera system, as well as a wide array of both educational and operational applications. The District also provides iPads for student learning for each student PK-12.

Strong connectivity also leads to more efficient collaboration through the use of tools like Google Classroom and Google Workspace for Education.  Our students can communicate with teachers and peers on and off-campus and school staff can pursue professional development and continuing education opportunities.

Finally, imagine there’s a theater production happening in New York, or a space shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Obviously that’s too far for a field trip. With a fiber fast internet connection, our schools can live-stream programs and new feeds right into the classroom, allowing students to be a part of the world outside their geographic boundaries.

Libraries and Museums

Often overlooked, but nonetheless invaluable, public libraries and museums of all kinds provide educational, artistic, and cultural opportunities offered almost nowhere else. They bring together resourceful, knowledgeable experts and support staff that create experiences that both inform and inspire.

Groups as diverse as toddlers, school children, book clubs, tourists, and seniors are enriched by the facilities and programs libraries and museums provide. Without fiber internet, however, neither of these anchor institutions can fulfill their unique niche in our community, including facilitating beloved programs like story hour, reading clinics, film nights, visiting exhibitions, club meetings, and guest experts.

And the community can often access many of these features—including e-books and other electronic materials—from home through remote and online access. Thus, fiber keeps each of us better connected to our area’s libraries, museums, and related curated institutions and their bevy of information and collections that set them apart.

Fiber Internet Keeps Our Anchor Institutions Well-Connected to Our Community—and to You

As much as our community depends on anchor institutions to improve our daily lives and make our region a better place to live, anchor institutions in turn rely on dependable and fast internet to get their jobs done. And they also look to the local team of experts and technicians that keep Trailblazer Broadband’s fiber network running strong and efficiently—and with the local knowledge and care to respond fast and effectively to any technical issue that may arise.

Indeed, the team at Trailblazer Broadband are more than just internet service professionals. We’re also your neighbors. Like you, we live and work in our community, which means we rely on and appreciate the work of our community’s anchor institutions.

As your municipally owned internet company, we’re highly invested in responding swiftly to emergencies like outages, which in turn lets the good people at our local anchor institutions do their jobs serving our community and keeping it healthy as well.

When you choose Trailblazer Broadband for your residential or business internet, you support our business—enabling us to turn around and support our community. Thank you for shopping locally for your internet. We’re proud to keep the Estes Valley connected!




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