Estes Park, Colorado will be getting municipal broadband. The Town Board unanimously approved a measure that will alter the city code to allow for a locally owned and operated network.
Estes Park voted to reclaim local authority to provide advanced telecommunications services in 2015 with a 92 percent majority. Since then, town officials have been searching for networking partners and working on a business plan for the municipal network.
The initial business plan calls for providing gigabit service through town and the Estes Valley. The network would also provide redundancy and support for emergency services. With the approval, the Town Board will take up funding plans at a meeting on March 26. Funding could involve as much as $37 million in municipal bonds to support a 3-5 year deployment timeline.
Estes Park is taking advantage of the city’s existing smart grid fiber optic network to piggyback services. The fiber optic network already exists in some neighborhoods and is currently being deployed to others. For neighborhoods that already have this infrastructure in place, they can expect broadband services to be available as early as the fourth quarter of this year.
Estes Park joins a group of cities in the same region that are pursuing municipal networks. Longmont, Glenwood Springs, Loveland, and Ft. Collins are all in various stages of planning and building out municipal networks. The growth of municipal broadband in the region is a reflection of the quality of private service in the area which has a reputation for being unreliable and slow. When complete, the Estes Park municipal network will be the only high-speed network available in the area.