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Community Broadband Connectivity

City of Boulder Broadband Backbone Map

The city’s vision is to provide a world-class community telecommunications infrastructure to Boulder for the 21 st Century and beyond. Broadband connectivity is a critical infrastructure service for quality of modern life, as is the case with roads, water, sewer and electricity. 

The construction of 65 miles of fiber optic backbone is expected to start early this year. This asset will be used for city and select community purposes, rather than provide public services in the short term. In the long term, this infrastructure could support gigabit speed internet services to homes and various city applications.

Community Broadband Backbone Project Progress Map


Project Timeline

  • Zayo has been selected as the contractor with contracts finalized.
  • Publish a planned phasing approach for the build of the backbone.
  • Construction of the fiber backbone is currently on hold due to the City’s response to Covid-19.
  • During April and May the project focus will be on securing both City and additional permits to have completed for when construction can resume.
  • Construction of the City’s fiber backbone project is scheduled to commence by early June with the focus on Phase 1 of the infrastructure build.
  • The goal is to have the new backbone complete and ready for service prior to or by the start of 2022. As with all major construction projects, especially those that are underground, there are many variables and this high-level schedule is subject to change.  

Project Milestones

Magellan Advisors was selected to provide design services specific to the lay-out of a new city-wide, underground, fiber optic backbone.

April  Additional funding for high priority network laterals in addition to dark fiber broadband backbone was approved.  Fiber and Broadband Presentation to Council   and   April 23, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes

June  The fiber optic backbone design was completed. The design included local field conditions which enabled the creation of the construction packages that will be used in the bidding process for the build.

August Gained Council approval to issue Certificates of Participation to fund the construction.   August 6, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes   pdf

September The City of Boulder had a competitive sale of its 2018 Broadband Taxable Certificates of Participation (COP’s). The competitive sale was conducted to ensure the City received the lowest interest rates on the transaction.

October  The City of Boulder released a Request for Bid (RFB) for Fiber Broadband Construction, it closed on Nov. 15. 


January   City Council received an update on the broadband options currently available to customers in Boulder through a study session. Council directed staff to proceed with analysis of broadband options.

May  Staff brought council five possible broadband models, including the option to refrain from moving forward at all. Staff presented broadband business models, costs, the relationship between broadband and municipalization, potential take rates and examples of cities that have different broadband models. Council expressed interest in proceeding with construction of a fiber backbone to begin implementing the project’s goals and preserve the city’s future options for several different broadband business models.

City staff and technical consultants further researched and refined the backbone proposal and conducted a statistically valid phone survey about market conditions and voter preferences related to community broadband.

June  City Council unanimously passed a motion to proceed with development of a fiber backbone in support of the city’s broadband goals.  

September  Staff issued a request for proposal (RFP) for detailed backbone design with a plan to procure design services, then construction services and then maintain the backbone ourselves. It received 13 responses.

November   Staff reviewed vendor proposals and conducted interviews with 6 vendors. One vendor proposed an alternative to the city’s proposed model. The proposed model is for the city to pay a vendor to design build operate and maintain the backbone which could reduce overall costs to the city but comes with tradeoffs.


Community Broadband Public Hearing from City of Boulder on Vimeo