City broadband aims to get Glenwood Springs fully wired

The city is planning to cover Glenwood Springs with local broadband as another utility source.

Much of the fiber program has already been laid throughout Glenwood Springs, with a few holes here and there for different reasons — like lacking prior place, underground conduit or apartment complexes that have developed closed contracts with private internet providers, Public Works Director Matt Langhorst told Glenwood Springs City Council on Sept. 15. 

Downtown Glenwood hasn’t been updated since it seems to work well. Contracted places don’t receive it because the complex has a contract. 

“The idea is to get the main buildout of everything done basically by November, and, then, we’ll start piece-mealing things in,” he said. 

The River Meadows Mobile Home park is a unique challenge in the city’s broadband expansion efforts. There is little to no underground conduit, and access to the park itself is a challenge, but the city still plans to make it a priority soon. 

“It’s just a challenge because of the infrastructure within that area, and direct bury wire versus conduits and those kinds of things,” Langhorst said. “So, we actually took a step back from now when we’re redesigning that area. It will move forward, but it’s just a challenging area to get into and disperse correctly, but we want to get there.” 

Other areas like central downtown Glenwood have an older internet connection that works well enough for it to not be a priority. Other areas are smaller with few residences or have private contracts with a private internet company.

“It’s the areas that are super complicated that were kind of holding off on,”  Langhorst said. 

The city has registered 500-600 subscribers with the goal of hitting the thousands range as soon as possible, he said.

“We are on pace right now to hit about $1 million (in revenue) this year, which is pretty significant for us,” he said. “We are a little over $1 million under budget.”

The project was proposed to take five years, but he said city staff worked to successfully shorten that timeline. 

“Let’s narrow it to two years, and let’s get it all done,” Langhorst said. “At this moment, we are under budget because the project is going better than we anticipated it to. It is not a fixed speed project; it’s a time and materials project.”

He said he is doing what many companies are having to do right now, and the project is working with minimal staff with maximum output. Another advantage is that the process is improving the electrical maps for the city, too. 

Serving each individual in Glenwood Springs as an option for the city’s broadband internet will be the next challenge for the city. He said that just because they have covered an area doesn’t mean everyone who lives there has access, especially in places like large apartment complexes. 

As newer residential developments are built, Langhorst said the city is making sure to connect with them ahead of time. 

“As things come in, we are having those conversations up front, so that when you build it, you put the conduit in the ground,” he said. 

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