At the October 9 budget retreat, Breckenridge Town Council approved $8 million to begin the design and construction of fiber optic infrastructure through the Town of Breckenridge. The overall goal of this project is to enable the community to own its future by creating a reliable, high-speed fiber infrastructure that can serve all of the Town’s connectivity and internet needs into the foreseeable future. Breckenridge will join other communities such as Centennial, Longmont, and Montrose in developing this municipal owned network. Breckenridge will be one of the first mountain resort community to construct a fiber optic network.
The Town released an RFP in July of 2017 searching for a partner to complete an assessment and create a business plan to execute the design and build of a new fiber network that would provide better internet service to the entire community. Foresite Group presented its unique approach to broadband planning and executed an agreement in January of 2018 to complete a detailed assessment. During the October 9th meeting, Foresite presented the overall plan and pro-forma to Town Council for the project. The Town has also hired consultant Tim Scott, Peak View Enterprises, who has worked both nationally and internationally with fiber infrastructure projects, as the Project Manager.
“We see this as a cornerstone investment for the Town for the next 50 years and beyond. Much like previous councils had the foresight to secure water rights and land bank for the future, this fiber backbone enables the Town to be proactive towards future developments and ensure that we’re in charge of our technological destiny,” commented Councilmember Gary Gallagher. “We believe this is the right thing to do at the right time.”
By constructing a fiber optic infrastructure, the project will provide for multiple service opportunities. These include reliable high-speed internet service to homes and businesses, and could also include better cellular service and coverage, public Wi-Fi, smart parking and transit solutions, and real-time smart water metering. Collectively, these kinds of Town-wide programs are known as “Smart City” solutions.
“The Town believes that this fiber infrastructure will put us in a favorable position to handle any future technologies that come our way and give us leverage when it comes to working with companies that provide internet and cell services to Breckenridge,” commented Mayor Eric Mamula.
The Town also believes that high speed, reliable, fiber-based broadband access at competitive rates is critical to the Town’s continued success as both a year-round resort and a great place to both live and work. Fiber has become the infrastructure of the 21st Century and its availability in Breckenridge and other mountain towns is limited. The Town feels strongly that investing in fiber and its associated conduit infrastructure, with direct ownership and control, will provide significant value for the residents and businesses of Breckenridge over the long-term. The Town’s new infrastructure investment will not only form the basis of a vastly improved Internet experience, but will also be at the core of driving new efficiencies for the municipal and utility operations of the Town. The potential use cases of this Town owned fiber and conduit infrastructure are many and varied, and the Town will seek to engage with private sector partners to realize many of these benefits over the long-t
The current plan would break ground in May of 2019. Phase 1 includes 17 miles of all underground infrastructure except for possible wireless antennas that the broadband team and town planners are working in conjunction to look at placement locations. Construction would be completed over 2 years with first provisional service being ready for customers during the 3rd quarter of 2019. Initial service provider selection will occur this year or early 2019, and sign up for residents and businesses would begin once the initial provider(s) are set up.
“By constructing the infrastructure, the Town is encouraging healthy competition when it comes to services. We believe that this competition will create better customer service, more reliability, and an expansion of services for both businesses and residents in Breckenridge,” commented Wendy Wolfe, Town Councilmember.