Fort Collins: City Continues to Investigate Broadband Utility Options

Last year Fort Collins convinced voters to allow the City to pursue broadband options last fall by approving an exemption to SB-152. At a recent study session, staff provided an update on its research to provide some type of municipal broadband. The utility could be public, private or a public-private partnership.

The staff isn’t ready to make a recommendation but did present interesting information provided regarding how municipal broadband competition can affect pricing. Longmont’s municipal broadband, NextLight, charges $49.99 per month for its 1-gigabit fiber-optic internet service. In response, Comcast now offers its 250-megabit service for $69.99 per month in Longmont versus $79.99 per month in cities such as Boulder, Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley.

The advent of affordable, high-speed broadband in Longmont has increased the City’s ability to lure new business. Would a similar utility have positive results in Fort Collins? Note: Loveland voters also approved a ballot question allowing the City to explore a municipal broadband utility last year, which was supported by LBAR (Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS). Larimer County voters will consider a similar measure this fall.

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