Last Thursday, in a 6-1 vote, the Glenwood Springs City Council approved the installation of 150 miles of broadband fiber via a Zoom meeting. The Post Independent reported that the new broadband system would replace an existing one and provide internet and phone service to every business and residence in Glenwood Springs.
“Having broadband available to all of our customers and to our city is important infrastructure,” Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said. “Even more so over the past few years and highlighted by this pandemic that we’re in right now.”
According to Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst, much of the existing broadband system is at the end of its 20-year lifespan. Once the new fiber is installed, the city’s 300 broadband customers would be switched over with minimal disruptions, if any, added Langhorst.
Langhorst noted that the new system, which would be laid over the existing electrical system both above and underground, would pass up to 4,800 potential customers. “We don’t have to rip up roads,” Langhorst said. “Basically, we would just be pulling wire through the conduit that already exists.”
In January, the city issued an RFP for $9 million in financing with a 20-year term to carry out the project. According to a staff report, the city would pay $202,500 for the first three years and $640,000 for the remaining 17 years. Two qualified responses were received, and if the financing goes through, it’s estimated the project will take at least two years to build out, reported the Independent.
“The idea is broadband will pay for itself,” Steve Boyd, Glenwood Springs Chief Operating Officer, said. “Broadband is going to be a utility that stands on its own, just like water, wastewater, and our electric fund.”