BY FREDA MIKLIN
On August 13, Denver South board member Nancy Sharpe, who is in her third and final term as Arapahoe County Commissioner district two, opened the regular Denver South partnership meeting by reminding those attending in person and virtually that Denver South, which consists of six jurisdictional entities (Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Denver, Lone Tree, Centennial and Greenwood Village) is home to 250,000 people who together comprise 15 percent of the entire front range work force.
U.S. Rep. Jason Crow
Second-term CD6 U.S. Rep. Jason Crow talked about the pending infrastructure bill in Congress that includes funding for roads, bridges, renewable energy and clean air and water.
Crow shared that he is also working on a bipartisan bill that would create a 320-person fellowship of entrepreneurs “to unleash economic opportunity” in areas where it is most needed as well as a cyber security act to “bolster the defenses” of small businesses. He also talked about a bill to provide interim funding to help small businesses in biotechnology scale up from start-up to viability by providing vouchers so that they can partner with research institutions and universities.
The congressman said he had earmarked funding for specific projects in CD6, including $20 million in infrastructure, $10 million for addressing the congestion at the I-25 and Belleview interchange (which he named as a top priority), $6 million for work on Havana Street in Centennial, and $4 million for Douglas County, along with $10 million to deal with homelessness that includes $2 million to address domestic violence in Adams County.
He named the Belleview and I-25 interchange as a top priority, saying, “If we can resolve that, it will help that entire hub and relieve congestion to help business growth.” Commissioner Sharpe publicly thanked Crow for his efforts on this project. Unfortunately, Denver has yet to come to an agreement with the other funding partners on the best approach for the area, which continues to hold up the work.
Crow also said that being a new member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, combined with being on the House Armed Services Committee will “help me champion” aerospace and other Department of Defense contractors as well as the Buckley Space Force Base. In response to a question about the decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama, Crow said, “It was a great thing that the Department of Defense recognized the importance of Buckley in the Space Force. I’m pushing for continued growth there. Space Command, which is the coordinating command, is currently in Colorado Springs. There is a unanimous opinion that the decision to move it to Alabama doesn’t make sense for national security. There are two ongoing investigations about the process of deciding to move it to Alabama.”
Broadband in Colorado
Christine Shapard, Denver South vice president of economic development, said that Comcast and Ting were important to supporting job growth in the area by providing broadband for people and businesses.
Monica Webb, senior director, market development and strategic partnership at Tucows, parent company of Ting, said the company was founded in 1993 to provide wholesale internet services. It now has 900 employees and annual revenues of $311 million. It is also the largest domain name holder behind GoDaddy. Tucows has eight offices in the U.S. and serves over 13 cities, including Centennial in Colorado. Mayor Piko has said, “Ting has managed to exceed our already ambitious expectations on all counts.”
Webb shared that Ting began construction in 2017, lit its first customer in 2018, and will be completely finished with fiber optic internet network installation this spring. They also have a new data center building in Centennial.
Nick Jimenez, Comcast’s director of government affairs and a board member of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, said that his company employs 9,000 people in Colorado and has paid over $194 million in taxes, fees, and permit charges to Colorado towns, cities and counties. Comcast has also invested $1.3 billion in infrastructure in the state in the past three years and spends $2.8 billion in annual payroll, benefits, and training for its Colorado workforce.
Comcast has also made $44.4 million in cash and in-kind contributions to Colorado communities over the last three years. Jiminez talked about Internet Essentials, a Comcast project that has provided free internet to 480,000 needy Coloradans since 2011.
The future, he said, is 10G Full Duplex DOCSIS Technology that will enable the next generation of broadband over cable’s hybrid-fiber coax networks, delivering symmetrical multi-gigabit speeds while supporting high reliability, high security, and low latency.