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Broadband business booming

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Four companies are now reselling bandwidth from the Glenwood Springs Community Broadband Network and, according to two company officials, sales are brisk. Local Internet service providers Sopris Surfers, RoFIntUG, Crimson Wireless and AspenWorks are reselling wireless high-speed bandwidth to customers in the Glenwood Springs area. Sopris Surfers president Paul Huttenhower said aside from some small glitches, the system is working well. “It’s going good. We started off with it Jan. 1,” he said. Sopris Surfers and the other companies are in the final weeks of a contract with the city to test the system and give input on how it can be improved. “Right now it’s $30 a month until the end of March,” he said of the 384 kilobytes per second offering. “Then on April 1, we need to renegotiate with the city.”The price is likely to increase after April 1, but Huttenhower said it will still be a good deal. “Most likely it will be $45. We’re trying not to go above that,” he said. The company also charges a $150 installation fee which can be decreased or waived completely if a long-term contract is signed. AspenWorks president Alex Huppenthal said his company also is doing well with the system. “It’s been very successful,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of demand.”AspenWorks has a similar deal to that of Sopris Surfers, $25 per month for basic broadband at 384 kilobytes and $49.95 for 512 kilobytes and more features.Some of the problems with the system include some down time when the system has shut down and possible difficulties in getting the wireless signal to some places once the leaves fill in on the trees. “There’s been a couple of hiccups, but when it did occur, it was fixed pretty quickly,” he said.The system has been touted by officials as one of just 13 city-run broadband networks in the country and the first in Colorado.The four companies joined the city late in 2002 when the city offered to provide customer equipment, a potential-customer list and a reduced rate in exchange for technical expertise and advice on how to improve the network. “I’ve got it at my house, and it’s great,” Huttenhower said. The service is picked up through the airwaves, like radio, then transmitted directly into a customer’s computer. The wireless system has no need for a phone line so it can be on all the time. As part of the initial deal with the four companies, the city lowered its fee to $5 per customer per month, allowing ISPs to resell the service at low prices. One reason the city is being hasty in hooking up customers is that AT&T Broadband is expected to introduce high-speed Internet into the lower valley later this year.Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. 511gmass@postindependent.com


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