SPRING CREEK – For four years, faster and reliable broadband has been a significant concern for Spring Creek Association members.
It was initially sparked by customer complaints against Frontier Communications that led to claims filed with the Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Office, said Jessie Bahr, association president and general manager.
“We tried to work with the Attorney General’s office to help residents in the area who were being promised certain speeds and paying for them, but not receiving them,” Bahr recounted.
The complaints led to an Assurance of Discontinuance against Frontier from the BCP office filed in 2019, stating the company violated five provisions of NRS 538, specifically those of marketing and advertising of internet speeds and quality of service.
Bahr said that although some customers have left Frontier for other providers, the association still sees residents posting comments about Frontier on social media. But the problems with reliable broadband remained.
The size and growth rate of the HOA have been a notable factor, leading the SCA to seek more internet providers, Bahr explained. The HOA comprises 5,400 properties that include approximately 15,000 residents, “making the SCA the second-largest HOA in the nation.”
Spring Creek also ranked the highest in Nevada on the list of median incomes with $94,951, according to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau data.
The association has numerous home-based businesses and about 50 brick-and-mortar establishments, six schools for grades k-12 and various pre-k schools, Bahr said.
“From there, the SCA board wanted to take the next step and help the overall community to develop a long-range plan,” Bahr added. “Without reliable internet, many of our abilities as residents are hindered.”
To that end, Bahr represented the association in the Broadband Action Committee that involved several key stakeholders and representatives from Elko County and City government, including Elko Mayor Reece Keener. The committee began a collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.
Through the partnership, the mining company and broadband provider help solve an issue that has plagued the community for years: getting left behind with inadequate internet.
But the SCA also partnered with OSIT to gather requests for proposals from interested broadband providers. Among those who responded were CC Communications and SafeLink Internet.
SafeLink Internet rebranded to Anthem Broadband, announcing its change in a March 1 press release to Idaho, Montana and Oregon customers.
CC Communications entered the local market last year, applying for a permit from Southwest Gas Corp. to lay fiber optic cable during Phase 1 of the Spring Creek Expansion.
For Phase 2, CC Communications General Manager Mark Feest said the company would again work with Southwest Gas and apply for a permit to eventually serve residents of Pleasant Valley by the end of the year.
In the association, the company plans to service Vista Grande, Tract 200 first with Palace Heights, Tract 400; Marina Hills, Tract 100; and Sunset Ridge, Tract 300 to follow.
“Businesses adjacent to Lamoille Highway will have service available soon after the mainline goes in,” Feest said.
In Elko, the company “is currently performing pre-service installations in the downtown corridor between Mountain City Highway and 12th Street, as well as between 12th street and Lamoille Highway … focusing on addresses on Silver, River and 12th streets, then move to Commercial and Idaho streets.”
The company is also making arrangements with the owners of apartment complexes to cross private property lines along 12th Street, such as the Villas at Riverside and Quail Run at Rivers Edge, Feest added. The company will add businesses along 12th and Silver streets and Lamoille Highway on the installation schedule.
Fiber optic service extends to Opal Drive, Pinion Road, Stitzel Road, and East Powderhouse Road.
In the City of Elko, the company will announce updated timelines for “further downtown corridor expansion, and additional residential locations in both the southeast and northwest of the Humboldt River.”
With natural gas and fiber optic internet on its way to Spring Creek, Bahr said more growth was expected with the addition of the Ruby Vista Ranch subdivision that could add another 4,000 homes to the area plus sports complexes and commercial businesses.
“We will continue to work with the community on needed infrastructure, business growth and future planning to ensure the Spring Creek Association is thriving for years to come,” Bahr said.