Glenwood Chamber survey indicates support for expanding fiber-optic network |

Glenwood Chamber survey indicates support for expanding fiber-optic network

Pete Fowler
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association survey found its members are mostly satisfied with the broadband Internet service they get at home or at work, but they would support the city borrowing money to provide fiber-optic connections citywide.

The results come from 127 chamber members responding to a January survey about the city’s plan to install infrastructure for fiber-optic connections to homes across the city. The chamber has about 650 members.

According to the chamber, 80 percent of those responding said they were satisfied with their current broadband service, and 74 percent said they would support the city issuing bonds to pay for expansion of the fiber-optic network.

“The survey communicates that fiber-optics are very important to the local business community,” said Marianne Virgili, president and CEO of the chamber.

She said fiber-optics to homes would help people run home businesses, and providing fiber-optics to a greater area than just the downtown core could entice more businesses to locate in Glenwood Springs. The survey suggests the business community is in favor of expanding the fiber-optic network, Virgili said.

If the plan is approved, the city would repay $12 million in debt to expand the network with user fees on Internet, telephone and cable television services. Currently, only businesses can get Internet service through fiber-optics through the loop the city installed in 2002. City Manager Jeff Hecksel has said the existing system costs about $2 million in capital expenses and about $200,000 a year for the past three years because the original business plan wasn’t followed. He envisions giving up the city’s wireless service to existing wireless providers and focusing instead on providing services through fiber-optics.

Voters will be asked on April 22 whether the city should pursue expanding the network. Another vote would be required later to give the city permission to actually go into debt. Some believe the expansion could make the current network financially sustainable, provide better services to consumers and encourage businesses to locate in the city. Others have expressed concern about the cost and whether the business plan is realistic or not.

The survey suggests the chamber members are much more interested in Internet service through fiber-optics than cable television.

Of the members responding to the survey, 86 percent said they would be interested in using Internet service through fiber-optics, while 50 percent said they would be interested in telephone service and 45 percent showed interest in cable television. Respondents could pick more than one answer for that question.

The chamber businesses wouldn’t mind the city competing with private companies. About 67 percent said the city should be able to use fiber-optics to provide telephone and cable television services even if competing with private companies, according to the chamber.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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