Over 140 municipalities in Colorado have opted out of a state law (SB-152) that prevents local governments from investing in broadband infrastructure. With overwhelming support from voters on Election Day last month, Denver, Berthoud, and Englewood became the most recent Colorado communities to bail on SB-152 in the 15 years since Qwest (now CenturyLink) and Comcast successfully lobbied for passage of the anti-local authority bill designed to protect their profits.
While Denver, Berthoud, and Englewood residents ponder next steps, a number of other Colorado communities have already built, or are in the process of building, municipally-owned broadband networks, the most successful example being the NextLight Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) network in Longmont.
NextLight, which began building its award-winning FTTH network in 2014, now offers Longmont’s 90,000 residents access to gigabit (1,000 Mbps) service and has surpassed a 50% take rate.
Three other communities in the Front Range region of Colorado are now on the front lines of building municipal broadband networks.
Loveland, a city of 76,700 situated in a 25.5 square mile valley at the entrance to Big Thompson Canyon, opted out of SB-152 with 82% voter approval in 2015, a year after Longmont began building its fiber network 17 miles south of the “gateway to the Rockies.”
Over the past five years, the Loveland Water and Power Department has been planning, and now building, its own Pulse fiber network.
To finance the project, city officials opted to issue $95.5 million in bonds. The bonds are backed by Loveland’s electric utility, which serves 37,500 residential and commercial accounts.
Just 13 months into an expected four-year city-wide build-out, Pulse now has a heartbeat. But it hasn’t exactly been a fairy tale story in Loveland. There was... Read more