Fort Collins considers municipal broadband

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 21:02:29-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- If you're frustrated with your internet service, you're not alone.

The City of Fort Collins has logged so many complaints it’s now considering providing high-speed internet service as a utility, much like water or electricity.           

Fort Collins is considering the following four options:

  1. Franchise option: Work at attracting another third party provider.
  2. Wholesale option: The city builds out the infrastructure and then leases the operating system to a third party.
  3. Retail option: The city builds out infrastructure and provides the service itself as another utility.

The wholesale option would cost $90 million in infrastructure improvements. The retail broadband service would require $135 million in infrastructure improvements, billing, etc. Both would need voter approval.

Fort Collins would compete with other providers like Xfinity and Century Link.

Many in the city seem open to the idea.

“My family is in England, so I use Skype a lot,” said Imogen Hartle. “It definitely drops calls on video streaming, so I think more options would be good.”

“It doesn’t feel like Comcast Xfinity is really innovating,” said Fort Collins resident, Zach Haupin. “So, add another player to the market. I think it sounds like a good idea.”

Fort Collins will hold a telephone town hall on Monday, Nov. 14 to discuss the idea with residents.           

The city will call 15,000 households and allow them to listen in and ask questions, much like a live radio program.