Does Loveland Love Broadband?

The Loveland City Council will vote this week on deploying a $93 million dollar municipal broadband network, according to the Reporter Herald.  A ‘yes’ vote would trigger a series of bonds to be issued to build the system.

The Loveland Communications Advisory Board (LCAB) recommended the following procedures to the Council:

  • The broadband enterprise utility will be city-owned under a retail model with regional collaboration.
  • City Manager Steve Adams will have the authority to set rates, charges and fees for the broadband network and related services within the parameters and reporting requirements to be set by City Council.
  • Adams will have the authority to explore regional partnerships with other governmental entities, broadband providers, and owners of fiber optic cable in order to capitalize on regional municipal broadband opportunities.

The cities of Fort Collins and Longmont will also be likely participants in the venture since the Platte River Power Authority serves them with power and owns fiber rings throughout the area, including Estes Park. 

The concept of a broadband utility has been under consideration by the council since 2015. The council took a big step forward February 6, when it voted to allocate $2.5 million toward information-gathering, planning and developing a build-ready network design. The city hired Nokia and Bear Communications to design the detailed network plan and selected J.P. Morgan as the project underwriter.

The city stipulated the network must have city-wide availability, high speeds, high reliability, reasonable cost and excellent customer service, the Herald reported.

“Partnerships should provide a source of capital, management expertise or reduction in risk. Based on this evaluation and the risk assessment, staff does not consider a public-private partnership to be an optimal solution at this time,” broadband project manager Brieana Reed-Harmel wrote.  The plan would allow the city to enter into a public-private partnership at a later date and let the city put it to a public vote in six months. Comments? Email us.

October 31, 2018

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