Glenwood city council looks into expanding broadband

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The city of Glenwood Springs is looking at expanding its broadband network with fiber-optic cables to every home.”You can send the Library of Congress coast to coast in just seconds over one fiber strand,” said Bryan Wassom, senior account director with Alcatel Lucent.Get a phone call that shows up on television, pause the video on demand, then decide whether or not to send it to voicemail or take it on a video call over the television.That would be an option for someone with voice-over Internet protocol taking advantage of what a direct fiber-optic has to offer, Wassom said.On Thursday, UTI Inc., of Georgia, and Alcatel Lucent presented a business model to expand Glenwood’s fiber-optic network requiring around $10 million in capitol expenses and $12 million in bond issues.Glenwood Springs installed municipal fiber-optic infrastructure in 2002 when it created the Community Broadband Network. The city had contacted UTI to explore the possibilities of expanding the network and its services.The presentation emphasized that expanding fiber-optics would lead to higher bandwidths and increased services that would eventually pay for themselves.”You can quickly realize that approximately $10 million a year is going out of this community to pay for video, data, voice,” said J. Allen Davis, president of UTI.Wassom and Davis said expanding the network and its offerings would lower the cost of services by increasing competition. It would also benefit the city in less tangible ways and build a strong infrastructure for the future.For example, Wassom said, Yahoo! Chose to locate server facilities in Chelan County, Wash., in large part because it has its own fiber-optic network.Wassom played a video in which a hospital CEO says the fiber-optic network has literally saved lives by allowing for quicker consultations and diagnoses.Mayor Bruce Christensen said Glenwood had no broadband services available until just months after the city installed the Community Broadband Network and service providers eagerly jumped in.Wassom said by taking an increased role in providing voice, data and video with fiber-optic infrastructure, the city can better control its own destiny. He said it would allow Glenwood to do things traditional service providers never would: allowing free or discounted access for hospitals, schools or even households of certain incomes.”It strikes me as odd when the telecommunications industry steps up and says you shouldn’t do this,” Wassom said.Christensen said the difference he’s noticed between a wireless connection to the city’s network and a fiber-optic connection is phenomenal.”All of these technologies discussed are not available to our citizens right now,” he said. “We do provide fiber to a number of businesses in town, but there’s really no affordable way for people to get that technology and that bandwidth to their homes. If we do that, as we’re seeing, there’s this huge variety of services that are available.”Contact Pete Fowler:

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