Early last year, the city of Steamboat Springs in Colorado took advantage of an opportunity to expand from an earlier public infrastructure investment. A state grant has allowed them to connect five community anchor institutions for better connectivity and cost savings.
Partners In Progress
In 2016, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded the community $748,000 toward the cost of a fiber backbone across the length of the city. In order to complete funding for the $2.22 million project, the city and its other partners, the Steamboat Springs School District, Routt County, Colorado Mountain College, Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA), and Yampa Valley Medical District contributed matching funding.
Five community anchor institutions (CAIs) are now connected to the backbone, including the local U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices, the YVEA offices, and the school district building. The school district is also housing the communities publicly owned Carrier Neutral Location (CNL), which the city created in 2014.
The CNL Started It All
The CNL is a space owned by a neutral party - in this case the Steambot Springs School District city of Steamboat Springs - where broadband providers can connect to each other. Middle mile and last mile providers can connect to each other in these “meet-me rooms.” The partners in Steamboat Springs are saving because they’re paying less for bandwidth and, because the school district is hosting the meet-me room, there is no need to pay for a separate facility. In Steamboat Springs, Northwest Colorado Broadband connects with Mammoth Networks.
Community leaders hope the presence of the CNL and the fiber backbone will attract last mile providers to invest in Steamboat Springs so residents and businesses can obtain better connectivity in the future.
"The benefits of the fiber optic project will be ample, redundant, more affordable service to community anchor institutions, open access to private providers and a foundation to serve county-wide and regional broadband needs," in the future, Deputy Routt County Manager Dan Weinheimer said in [an April] news release.