Fiber optics may connect to some Glenwood Springs homes before network expansion |

Fiber optics may connect to some Glenwood Springs homes before network expansion

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The city will start looking into installing fiber-optic cables directly to homes anywhere it might be possible without a large-scale expansion of its network.

City Manager Jeff Hecksel said it would probably make sense to consider connecting only homes close to the current fiber-optic network and locations with many tenants. He said the city would only look into the possibility, and there may not be opportunity to actually start connecting to homes before expanding the city’s fiber-optic network on a larger scale.

The step will be taken while the city continues to ponder expanding its fiber-optic network for around $15 million to where it can connect to homes in and around Glenwood Springs. The city or a nonprofit or private company would sell Internet, television and phone service over the fiber-optics directly to homes in competition with companies like Qwest and Comcast. The city’s current network installed in 2002 connects directly only to businesses.

Critics say the expanded network would fail financially and stick taxpayers with the bill. Supporters say it would bring better services to consumers at a cheaper price and stop the network from losing money. They say it would also bring other benefits like encouraging businesses to locate in the city, raising home values and improving education and health care.

The current network cost around $3.5 million for design and construction, the Post Independent reported after it was built. It’s lost around $200,000 a year.

The City Council said it supported city staff’s efforts to complete an independent market assessment about the prospects of the proposal, continue gathering information about other fiber-to-the-home projects and develop a financial strategy to expand the network based on business plans already completed. City employees also plan to look into exactly who would run the network and how they would do it, and develop a fiber-optic master plan for the layout of equipment and cables.

The work is to be completed before August, when the City Council is expected to decide whether to put a question on the November ballot asking voters if the city should take out a $15 million bond to expand the network.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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