Residents, City celebrate starting build-out of Connexion

Samantha Ye

Mayor Wade Troxell and Darin Atteberry
Coleman Keane, executive director of Fort Collins’ city run Connexion, discusses the company’s plan for the construction of the fiber network.

While there wasn’t literal broken ground at the Connexion’s groundbreaking event, residents were able to gain further insight into the roll-out and future of Fort Collins’ City broadband.

Construction of the municipal fiber-optic system began November 2018 in multiple locations across the city, said Erin Shanely, broadband marketing manager.

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“Our goal was to start in a few areas simultaneously so we can make sure we’re not targeting just one neighborhood at a time,” Shanley said.

The earliest service should start coming up between July and December, most likely in late summer.

The full roll-out of the roughly 1,000 miles of fiber will take 36 to 48 months, meaning some households won’t have access until the very end. However, the city is working to shave down that time, Shanely said.

Meanwhile, residents can keep an eye out for flyers on their doorknobs, alerting them to when installation is beginning in their neighborhood and when they can start purchasing service.

While prices have not been set yet, the original business plan proposed the residential price of $70 per month for 1GB per second speed. The City is still looking at other pricing/GB tiers.

“We know that having reliable, cost-effective, dependable, effective, affordable service is not just a nicety,” City Manager Darin Atteberry said. “We want you to know we see fiber the same way we see water and…light and power.”

We have very high expectations. We have zero room for failure.” -Darin Atteberry, City manager

Atteberry acknowledged Connexion is entering a very competitive industry with this service. In Fort Collins, CenturyLink and Comcast hold 96 percent of the internet service market between them, according to the Coloradoan.

As Connexion leaders have done in the past, Atteberry emphasized the service’s adherence to net neutrality and how City broadband must uphold and tap into the brand of credibility already established by the city.

“We have very high expectations,” Atteberry said to the City’s broadband partners in the room. “We have zero room for failure.”

As such, the Connexion team and City leaders were present to answer questions from the crowd of residents, or potential customers, who attended the groundbreaking.

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All three of the City’s broadband partners were also present: Atlantic Engineering Group, the construction company, Nokia for in-home installation, and Open Intel. These partners will handle the new utility billing system, which will also manage billing for broadband.

Wire spools
The City’s construction partner Atlantic Engineering Group showed off the various technologies which will be used to deliver broadband into people’s homes, from the razor-thin strands of fiber to the massive coils which will be unwound underground (Nathan Tran | Collegian)

Connexion will also be offering digital phone and video streaming services, which will help expand its customer base. The phone would be ideal for emergency 911 calls, Shanley said, and the video service will allow buyers to get different TV channel packages.

As far as reception goes, Shanley said residents are very excited for the municipal fiber network.

“The biggest question we get is ‘When is it coming to my house?” Shanley said. “We’ve received a lot of really positive feedback from the community which is wonderful for us. We’re so excited to be able to deliver that for our residents and small businesses.”

If you missed this event, the City is also responding to questions via the online Q&A page for Connexion.

Mayor Wade Troxell lauded the leadership which has driven the implementation of broadband since 2011.

“It brings us to 2019 today, and here we are—here we are at the groundbreaking, here we are at a celebration of the official construction of our fiber-optic network,” Troxell said. “This is a momentous day for our community…So let’s get the word out.”

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.