TaosNet and Blanca Telephone Forge Fail-Safe Internet Alliance

TaosNet in Northern New Mexico and Blanca Telephone Company in Southern Colorado, Internet Service Providers (ISP) in their respective service areas, have forged an alliance to provide a data network capable of operating in the event of a region-wide land based (fiber) telecommunications failure. TaosNet’s and Blanca Telephone’s long established reputations for reliability are the strongest in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

TaosNet, a locally owned ISP, and Blanca Telephone Company, GoJade.Org, a telephone company and ISP serving the San Luis Valley in Colorado, created an alliance that built a mutually redundant physical path connection to the Internet for broadband data and communication services to the outside world. This system is independent of the local telecom infrastructure.

ISPs serving Taos County and the Enchanted Circle of Northern New Mexico and in the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado receive their primary Internet access through a single multi-strand fiber cable, provided by the local phone company, to the outside world. When either of these telco fiber cable connections fail, TaosNet and Blanca Telephone continue to have full, uninterrupted Internet access for their broadband subscribers, mail servers, web servers, and routers.

TaosNet and Blanca Telephone’s alliance, ChileRoute.com LLC, has built and maintains a very high capacity licensed wireless link between Taos, NM and Alamosa, CO that is independent of the local telecom infrastructure. Construction was completed in October, 2009, upgraded in Fall 2015, and has proven its merit during several outages in Taos and the San Luis Valley.

John Batis, systems administrator and managing partner of TaosNet, says “It was the BIFF (Backhoe Induced Fiber Failure) incident in 2008 near Santa Fe that got me thinking. A backhoe working on the Rail Runner project cut a fiber cable, taking down all Internet, cell phones, and most long distance telephone service to Taos and Northern New Mexico for nearly 12 hours. I had to find a viable alternative, since businesses, emergency services, and residents alike have become so dependent on reliable Internet access.”

Alan Wehe, president of Blanca Telephone Company, says “The San Luis Valley is fed via 1 cable with multiple strands of fiber to the outside world. If the fiber cable is cut (and it has been) or if there is an equipment failure in the local telecom infrastructure, the San Luis Valley is without communications (telephone, cell phones, text messaging and internet). This route offers an alternate path for the internet.”

ChileRoute.com connects the networks of TaosNet and Blanca Telephone Company in Alamosa with 4 sets of FCC licensed full duplex wireless radios via a relay on San Antonio Mountain north of Tres Piedras.

Darren Cordova of DMC Broadcasting, former mayor of the Town of Taos, made this project possible by providing the use of his radio facilities on San Antonio Mt. Without his enthusiastic support, this project would not have been possible. Mr. Cordova says, “This project provides the redundancy and reliability of Internet access that is essential for economic development and attracting new businesses to the Taos area.”

Batis describes TaosNet’s alliance with Blanca Telephone as a mutually beneficial partnership. “Our company, ChileRoute.com LLC, provides both TaosNet and Blanca Telephone with an alternate route to the Internet should either region experience a widespread telecommunications failure. TaosNet’s data networking expertise and Blanca’s telephone expertise creates a synergy that strengthens their ability to meet the future technical and business challenges of bringing affordable and reliable voice/data/video to Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.”

This project also provides opportunities for bringing affordable broadband Internet access to currently unserved and underserved areas of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. For more information, info@chileroute.com.

Installation of ChileRoute equipment on San Antonio Mountain and Alamosa, CO, September 2009 (click to enlarge)
Photos by Sam Lambie