City broadband aims to get Glenwood Springs fully wired

The city plans to add local broadband coverage to Glenwood Springs as an additional source of coverage.

Much of the fiber program has already been laid throughout Glenwood Springs, with a few holes here and there for various reasons such as lack of prior space, underground lines or apartment complexes that have signed contracts with private internet providers, said Matt Langhorst, director of public works, to Glenwood Springs City Council on 15 September.

Downtown Glenwood has not been updated as it seems to be working fine. Contract pitches don’t get it because the complex has a contract.

“The idea is to have the main build out of everything basically finished by November, and then we’ll start building things in piecemeal,” Langhorst said.

River Meadows Mobile Home Park is a unique challenge to the city’s broadband deployment efforts. There is little to no underground conduit and access to the park itself is challenging, but the city nonetheless plans to make this a priority soon.

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“It’s just a challenge because of the infrastructure in that area and direct burial versus ducting and things like that,” Langhorst said. “So we actually took a step back in redesigning this space. It’s going to move forward, but it’s just a challenge to get into that territory and distribute it properly, but we want to get there.”

Other areas like downtown Glenwood have older internet connections that work well enough not to be a priority. Other areas are smaller with fewer residences or have private contracts with a private internet company.

“It’s the areas that are super complicated that were kind of held back,” Langhorst said.

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The city has registered 500 to 600 subscribers with the aim of reaching the thousands as quickly as possible, said Langhorst.

“We’re on track right now to hit about $1 million (sales) this year, which is pretty important for us,” he said. “We’re a little over a million dollars under budget.”

The project was supposed to last five years, but Langhorst said city officials are working to successfully shorten that timeframe.

“Let’s limit it to two years and let’s do everything,” said Langhorst. “Right now we are under budget because the project is going better than we expected. It is not a fixed speed project, it is a time and material project.”

Langhorst said he is doing what many companies are now having to do and the project is working with minimal staff at maximum output. Another benefit is that the process also improves electric maps for the city.

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Serving every individual in Glenwood Springs as an option for the city’s broadband Internet will be the next challenge for the city. Langhorst said just because they’ve covered an area doesn’t mean everyone who lives there has access, especially in places like large apartment complexes.

When newer housing developments are built, the city of Langhorst makes sure to connect with them at an early stage.

“When things come in, we have those talks ahead of time so when you build, you put the line in the ground,” he said.

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