We voted, and said, ‘Yes. Bring on the broadband.’ Now what?

In 2015, more than 82 percent of participating Loveland voters said yes to restoring local authority to the City of Loveland to provide high speed Internet directly or indirectly with public and/or private sector partners to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, health care facilities, nonprofit entities and other users within the City of Loveland.  A lot has happened since then. You can see a timeline here. Now through early fall 2018, the City is in the information-gathering phase. We are working to determine the design build out of the broadband network, financing packages and diving deeper into the business model. Stay tuned for more information and ways you can connect to learn and ask questions about what is happening. For a full history of city council records, head to the Loveland Broadband History tab.

Just what is ‘broadband?’

Put simply, broadband = super-fast Internet service. The faster the Internet service, the faster and more efficiently residents and community members can work, learn, connect with others, download and upload files, stream video, conduct an Internet video or voice call without delay or dropped calls. If you want to get technical, this means that delivery is at the rate of 1 gigabit per second or faster. That’s 10 to 100 times faster than almost all commercially available services in Loveland currently.

You keep talking about the benefit of high-speed Internet. What is available in Loveland now and what would broadband add?

Loveland broadband would bring speeds of 1,000 megabits up to 10,000 megabits per second for both uploads and downloads. Currently, Loveland service providers offer a range of 25 megabits to 200 megabits per second. You can check your own speeds on the "What's My Internet Speed" page. 

Why is broadband so important to us? What’s the real advantage?

Ultra-high Internet connection speeds offer lots of benefits. In short, any person, business, or institution that needs to connect now would have the ability. Here are some specific ways that Loveland would benefit:

  • Community: Broadband connectivity across Loveland -  in our libraries, city offices, the police department, parks and recreation areas and other public buildings - will further the vital mission of these organizations in our community.

  • Education: All students across Loveland can do homework, research and access resources faster - from school, public institutions, and from home to support traditional and distance learning.

  • Health: Patients young and old get can get real-time healthcare when they need it most.

  • Economic Development & Business: Primary employers, start-ups, and businesses across all industries can stay ahead of business needs with high-capacity data transfers, high-definition video conferencing, or online communication and sharing services. Loveland can also attract a high-quality workforce - both those working in-office or from home.

  • Home: Families can connect multiple devices for school, work and entertainment on-demand and glitch-free. 


Why is the City even considering this? I am happy with my Internet.

The City strives to be an ideal location for ALL people to live, work, and play. Bringing high-speed broadband Internet to Loveland as a municipal service to our homes, schools, hospitals, libraries, and businesses will strengthen our city and allow everyone in our community to benefit. Why now? Communities across Colorado’s Front Range and our neighbors around northern Colorado have already begun the steps to launch municipal broadband services, or are considering it. If we don’t pursue this now, we could get left behind.

If you are happy with your current Internet provider, there would be no obligation to change, but you would still reap the benefits of broadband through the community.

Why is the City considering this option now?

As of December 2017, 54.4% of the world's population (4,157 million users) are using the Internet and that number will only continue to grow. More people + more devices + more services and needs = the need for higher speeds and higher bandwidth to accommodate growth. More than 250 cities and communities across the U.S. have implemented community or publicly owned fiber and more than 30 counties and 90 cities in Colorado have excluded themselves from Senate Bill 152, which allows them to make local decisions on city-owned broadband, and there are 39 community broadband cooperatives. Many of our northern Colorado neighbors are moving forward with their own networks or are in the stages to consider it, so its time to determine how our community will move forward. Here is a map of where things stand in northern Colorado. 

OK. Let’s say we do this. How much will it cost customers?

At this time it is too soon to tell how much this service will cost in Loveland. We know that many communities are providing municipal broadband Internet service at faster speeds and price points similar to or lower than commercial service providers. We also know that only subscribers to Loveland’s broadband service would pay for the cost of Loveland’s broadband service. We expect to know more once our business plan has been updated this fall. You can take a look at this high-level business plan in the meantime. If you love data and analysis, you can review our feasibility study as well as our business and consumer surveys for more specifics.

How will this project be paid for?

Based on the current high-level business plan, ALL COSTS for broadband would be paid for by those who subscribe to the service once available. Here is a chart: 

Who would provide this service? The City?

There are currently four options available and outlined below. The Broadband Task Force recommended that the City pursue possible models for options 2 and 3. Over the next 4-6 months, the City will finalize a business plan to support its final recommendation and the specific model will be finalized this fall if the City moves forward with the broadband buildout.

   
  1. Do Nothing option. With this option, the City would have no ownership or role in broadband Internet and the market would remain driven by existing and future incumbents. The price, service options, and service builds out are dependent on private providers.
  2. A Public-Private option. The City builds the broadband network and another private provider would offer and manage the service.
  3. A Public-Public option. The City owns the network and partners with another public entity to manage it.
  4. A retail model. The City would own and operate the network, making broadband a City utility as Longmont has done with that city's "NextLight" system).

What is Municipal Broadband?

Municipal Broadband is broadband Internet service provided by local governments instead of commercial Internet service providers. Over 200 communities in 27 states currently receive broadband Internet services through publicly-owned municipal broadband networks. This service is invoiced to consumers in the same way as a monthly electric bill and would only be paid for by those who subscribe to it.

If Loveland moves forward with Broadband, what can we expect regarding construction and impact on residents

Those specific details are forthcoming based on the design buildout we will be working on once we have selected our design partner from the RFP process. The City of Loveland currently has many fiber assets and other infrastructure that could be used for the deployment of fiber-to-the-premise, which is a good start. This project is mostly underground, so we would have construction to map out across the city. We will work closely with our design partner to make the best possible plan with minimum impacts to the city. Broadband is meant to improve the quality of life of our community and we will bring that mentality to all phases of the project. You can read more about possibilities in the high-level business plan.

What would be the service area? Just the City of Loveland?

We are proposing that the service area be the same as the City's electric service area, which includes city limits and areas in the Big Thompson Canyon. City limits would be the priority. Broadband would be available to everyone as a subscription service. Only those who subscribe will pay for it. 

Have you prioritized areas in the city that would get service first?

Not yet. That recommendation will come as the design process is finalized. There are many factors to consider, but we will announce those details when they are available.