Here we go again |

Here we go again


A charitable analysis of the Peak Speed bankruptcy debacle would be that the county got a wireless high-speed Internet network built, and now somebody else can own it and run it – maybe the county itself.

Summit County Telecommunications Consortium president Bernie Zurbriggen, the mayor of Frisco, would take that deal, although he says the SCTC does not want to be in the business.

He said the goal of paying $426,902 to Peak Speed was to give Summit County a choice of high- speed access. That is indeed the driving force behind the state Beanpole program, which gave a total of $472,366 to Summit County so it could bridge the digital divide between slow dial-up service and high speed.

It should be stated unequivocally that bridging that gap is important to our quality of life in the 21st century – and fosters economic development outside the resort paradigm.

But the execution was suspect.

Peak Speed was created from the same DNA as the bankrupt Netbeam, both led by Greg Friedman of Breckenridge.

Netbeam was dissolved into Peak Speed five months ago. It only took that long for Peak Speed to declare bankruptcy, owing its top 20 creditors more than $1.2 million.

Among those left holding the bag are local subcontractors still unpaid for building the system that went live Feb. 1. They thought they would be shielded from trouble by the county’s involvement with Peak Speed. Not so. We doubt they would agree with the charitable analysis we offer.

The truth of the matter is that any fair reading of Netbeam’s bankruptcy papers, all public filings, portended trouble. But just because Netbeam/Peak Speed was the only wireless bidder in 2001 and it was within the Beanpole budget, it won the contract.

As we said many months ago, no individual local government would have made the play if the money was coming directly from a local piggyback. But because the money was “free” from the state, the risk was taken.

Some believe the Summit Daily News is out to get certain individuals by reporting and editorializing on this subject. That’s a convenient excuse to hide from the truth.

We think the facts speak for themselves.

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