While Loveland’s proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park might be the lifeblood of this “Gateway to the Rockies,” the Colorado city is finding a new heartbeat with its planned broadband network, Pulse.
Loveland (pop. 76,700) announced the name and branding of its new Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network at a launch event on May 30, the Denver Post reports. As part of the Loveland Water and Power department, Pulse will connect the city’s residents and businesses with fast, reliable, affordable Internet access. At the event, City Councilmember John Fogle said, “Bringing broadband to our community is one of the biggest decisions City Council and city staff have made in the history of Loveland.”
Loveland Looks at Broadband
The name Pulse may be new, but Loveland’s planned fiber network has been six years in the making.
Loveland took its first major step towards municipal connectivity in 2015 when 82 percent of voters chose to opt out of Colorado Senate Bill 152, which prevents local governments from investing in broadband infrastructure. Then in the fall of 2018, after working with a consultant on a feasibility study, Loveland City Council decided to move forward with a municipal broadband network. Councilors had originally planned to pose the question to city residents in a special ballot, but with the community’s overwhelming support of the 2015 referendum in mind, they chose to proceed without the public vote.
While planning the fiber network, Loveland officials consulted other communities with successful municipal broadband networks, including Longmont, Colorado; Wilson, North Carolina; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. “[We] picked their brains so thoroughly, they don’t want to come here anymore. It’s because of Longmont that Loveland is getting fiber,” Fogle said at the Pulse launch event.
Taking the Plunge as Pulse
In a press release announcing Pulse, City Manager Steve Adams explained the choice of the network’s new name:
“The rhythm of life here in Loveland is vibrant and full of energy, reflective of the people who comprise our great City . . . Pulse builds on the facets of our community that make Loveland great and powerfully connects us all to the many incredible resources both in our city and throughout our world.”
According to Loveland’s broadband business plan [pdf], the objective of the fiber network is to provide fast, reliable, affordable Internet access with superior customer service citywide. Municipal Fiber Manager Brieana Reed-Harmel explained, “Pulse has everything you expect from the city-provided services you currently use — reliability, fair rates, and excellent, locally-based customer service.”
Loveland plans to offer Internet access and voice services and is considering video services. The city’s business plan tentatively lays out three tiers for residential broadband subscribers:
- 25 Mbps symmetrical - $19.95 per month
- 300 Mbps symmetrical - $49.95 per month
- 1 Gbps symmetrical - $79.95 per month
Earlier in the year, Loveland issued bonds to fund construction of the Pulse network, for a total of $95.4 million. The city will start deploying fiber in September and is planning a kickoff event to celebrate. Construction of the citywide network will take three to four years to complete, but Pulse will connect its first subscribers in the beginning of next year.
Loveland’s municipal connections are also helping the city shave network costs. To streamline deployment and save money, the city is partnering with nearby Fort Collins and Estes Park, which are also planning networks, to split the cost of backhaul connection to the greater Internet.
The Loveland community can’t wait for better connectivity. At the Pulse launch event, Adams quipped:
“If I had a dollar for every person who asked, ‘When are you connecting to our property?’ I wouldn’t have needed to issue a bond. This is a celebration and a step closer to realizing our goals and getting our community connected.”