A service provider is worried 112 customers will be left without high speed internet after the owner of Granby Ranch told him to remove all of his equipment at the ski area by Oct. 31.
Eden Recor, owner of Grand County Internet Services, explained that 112 customers, directly or through relays, depend on internet coverage provided by equipment housed at the Granby Ranch ski area. Recor has leased a place for the equipment at Granby Ranch since 2004.
However, Granby Ranch was foreclosed on in 2020. Typically, his type of lease would have ended with the foreclosure. Recor said the company that took over the ski area instead continued the lease for a year.
Granby Ranch was sold to its current owner, GR Terra, led by Bob and David Glarner, earlier this year. Recor said the new owner accepted his lease payment for four months through the end of September.
Recor said he also sent a check covering payment through the end of the year, but that check has not been cashed. He said he was notified at the beginning of September that GR Terra wanted his company’s equipment off the mountain by the end of October.
Removing the equipment would leave at least 112 customers without any other option for high speed internet, according to Recor. In an email blast, Recor notified those customers of the potential impact.
“It’s their only option for high speed internet,” he said over the phone. “They can get slower satellite maybe, but that doesn’t really satisfy their needs.”
JoAnn Sandifer, an attorney for GR Terra, said the company was not aware of the lease with Grand County Internet Services when it purchased the ski resort. She added that the company is seeking more information about the number of internet customers that would be left without any other options.
“We believe there are other internet carriers in the area,” Sandifer said over the phone Tuesday.
Sandifer explained that GR Terra would consider additional information and all options moving forward.
“Once we get the information that we’ve requested, we will assess the situation and decide if we want to pursue other options at that point,” she said.
Recor said he will file an injunction this week to try to stop the removal of his equipment while he fights the change. Recor and his attorney, Natascha O’Flaherty, argue that by accepting his lease payment, the company has ratified the agreement.
Recor said that the new owner has not been willing to compromise with him nor offer an explanation for why the lease must end.
“I would just as soon work with them and work something out, but they won’t even talk to me, you know,” Recor said. “They want to do everything though a lawyer, which I find very strange … This is the first time I’ve ever had to hire a lawyer in 26 years of doing the internet business.”
Last week, Recor asked Granby Ranch to continue the lease through at least July. He explained that it might be possible to move his equipment to other places and still provide internet to those customers, but he’d need time to find the locations, negotiate new leases and get the equipment set up.
After emailing the 112 impacted customers, Recor said he’s gotten at least 50 responses from people confirming that Grand County Internet Services is their only option for high speed internet.
John Calcutt is one of those customers who might lose services if Recor’s company can’t keep its equipment at Granby Ranch.
“We have been a customer for four or five years,” Calcutt said. “We had a DSL line with Century Link before that, and you know how reliable those things are, right? Not very. It was a big improvement in our internet services when we changed to Grand County (Internet Services) … We don’t really have another broadband option.”
Since Recor notified him last week about potentially losing service, Calcutt has been exploring other options, such as a mobile hotspot. He has heard other residents are looking at satellite-based internet.
“At a minimum, it’s going to cost us more money, and in addition, it’s not going to be able to provide the same capabilities in terms of speed and downloads, etc.,” he said. “I’ve been on a lot of Zoom calls in the last year, year and a half. That will be difficult to do with a cellular hotspot.”
Looking at how much he and his neighborhood depends on Grand County Internet Services, Calcutt hopes that raising awareness of the impact will be enough to save their connection.
“This just doesn’t seem very neighborly to me, this kind of behavior,” Calcutt said.
Recor has notified the Granby town board and Grand County commissioners about this issue. The commissioners have written a letter to David Glarner asking that the company continue leasing to Grand County Internet Services.