Fiber-optic network about to see light of day |

Fiber-optic network about to see light of day

Glenwood Springs has signed a contract with Aspenworks Ltd. of Aspen to act as the Internet service provider for its $3 million fiber-optic network.

“We are starting to sign up customers now,” said John Hines, Glenwood Springs Electric Department manager, in a presentation to City Council Thursday.

Hines said 30 to 40 customers are on a waiting list to tap into the city’s high-speed Internet access system. The plan is for customers to sign up through the newly-named Internet service provider, paying the ISP a monthly fee for service.

Users can tap in with a direct physical connection to the fiber optic network or by using an antenna system for a wireless connection.

For now, Hines said, Aspenworks will sign up three commercial users and about 10 residential customers as what are called “lighthouse accounts.”

“We want to start with a few customers to make sure it works,” Hines told council members.

“Oh, it will work, all right,” interjected city manager Mike Copp.

“Right. We just want to get all the bugs out,” Hines added.

The electric department is also installing two additional antennas to provide total coverage for wireless customers.

“We’ve discovered some dark holes in town,” Hines said.

The new ISP for the city’s system, Aspenworks Ltd., is located in the Aspen Airport Business Center. The company is registered to Alex Huppenthal, according to the Colorado Secretary of State, but he could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, City Council members called for more-detailed information on the city’s contract for service with Brunetti DEC, the Denver firm that planned and installed the fiber network.

“How much further are we going with these guys?” asked Councilman Don Gillespie.

The company is still managing the city’s connection to a statewide fiber optic network, and the state government plans to pay Brunetti to connect state agency offices in Glenwood Springs to the system, Copp said.

Gillespie questioned the latest $74,000 check issued to Brunetti.

“It’s all part of the budget,” Copp said.

Hines said the city is advertising for a full-time staff person to manage the fiber-optic network and said Brunetti staff will train that person once they are hired.

Copp said the project was originally projected to cost from $3 million to $4 million.

“There are no surprises or hidden agendas. It’s going to be a lot closer to $3 million,” he said.

But Gillespie called for a complete listing of fiber-optic project spending, in order to answer questions raised by his constituents.

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