Could Fort Collins run with the big dogs of internet service? – Colorado News

Could Fort Collins run with the big dogs of internet service? – Colorado News

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The basics on where Fort Collins stands on providing broadband services
Kevin Duggan

Bit by bit, the city of Fort Collins is moving toward establishing a fiber optic network that could bring a high-speed broadband connection to every residence and business in the city and its growth management area.

But nearly two years into the process of studying options for the city to realize its broadband dream of having internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (upload and download) available to the community, fundamental questions remain about how a system would work.

If the city builds and operates a network capable of carrying internet, phone and possibly video services, would it be up for competing with the big dogs of the telecommunications world?

Or should it partner with a private company and let it take on the financial risks of building and running a network?

More: Loveland pumps brakes on 2017 broadband election

That might be tempting since the cost of building a network would require the city to take on an estimated $130 million to $150 million in debt.

But it could mean surrendering control of critical system elements, including price, speed and customer service – the very issues that got city officials interested in providing broadband services in the first place.

During a recent City Council work session, most members still voiced support for pursuing a “retail” municipal broadband system with the city running the show. But they don’t want to close…

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