Colorado Springs residents can expect more fiber optic Internet service options in the years to come with a new network from Colorado Springs Utilities.
“What we build will bridge the digital divide,” said Brian Wortinger, director of Utilities’ fiber optics and telecommunications business.
Colorado Springs Utilities is building the fiber system to meet its internal needs, but it will also help make the city attractive to new businesses and potentially exceed the fiber capacity already in place in Huntsville, Alabama, a community that has some fastest internet speeds. in the countryside. Colorado Springs could lose US space command to Huntsville in about five years.
“We are including some of the latest technology that could potentially make us even better connected than Huntsville is today,” said Wortinger.
The Colorado Springs fiber loop will have a higher capacity than the Huntsville one, he said.
“All the cities that did this thought they were developing this capability too much and they all later wished they had built it bigger,” he said.
The utility plans to build a network over six years that will span 3,000 kilometers and serve all parts of the city under a contract with Ting, an Internet service provider that has already signed a contract to lease fiber. If Utilities built the project without a tenant, construction is expected to take 15 years, he said.
Colorado Springs Utilities will lease the fiber to any other interested ISP. Utilities will not provide the Internet directly to customers and taxpayers will not see their bills increase to fund the project.
Utilities have had internal fiber for 30 years, but contracting with companies like Ting and others will improve internet services for the whole community in ways that existing businesses do. not been able to reach, said the CEO of utilities, Aram Benyamin.
The number of Internet service providers available to customers varies considerably depending on the neighborhood, Broadband nowthe national map shows.
Ting is a relatively small ISP that serves about a dozen cities in six states, including Centennial in the Denver metro area.
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The company has always provided the Internet via fiber and expects to deliver speeds of 1 gigabit per second to residents, said Jill Szuchmacher, executive vice president of Ting. At Centennial, Ting’s 1 Gbps services are available for $ 89 per month to residents, according to the company’s website.
Gigabit-per-second speeds ensure residents can use multiple devices in their home, play online video games, and stream TV shows at the same time.
“Fiber as a technology is really designed for the Internet, as opposed to other solutions like copper,” she said. Ting will install fiber from the utility system directly to homes and businesses to provide the service, she said.
Ting plans to open an office in Colorado Springs, but Szuchmacher has yet to say how many jobs may be available.
Ting was selected from 30 companies to be the primary tenant of Utilities based on their finances, track record and customer service, Wortinger said.
Utilities expects Ting to start offering Internet services to customers within a year, Wortinger said. He couldn’t say where the services would be available first.
The new fiber system will follow existing utility infrastructure underground and along high voltage power lines where it can be protected. It will integrate part of Utilities’ existing 250-mile fiber-optic infrastructure, Wortinger said.
The system will be built in a loop around the city that will include huts – small, prefabricated structures that house the internet infrastructure and serve as hubs for a hub-and-spoke system to ensure that fiber is available at every address.
A separate and secure part of the new fiber network will serve the utility infrastructure, Benyamin said. The secure part would isolate utilities from the type of ransomware attacks that shut down the colonial pipeline.
The new system could also provide separate and secure fiber to businesses, Wortinger said, an option that may appeal to military contractors.
The city government is also expected to use the new fiber, allowing for infrastructure upgrades such as smart street lights that could turn off when not needed and traffic lights that could handle traffic jams in real time. Fiber could also allow the city to provide free downtown Wi-Fi at some point, he said.
“The possibilities are getting huge,” said Benyamin.