The Internet has become a central part of our lives, but most Boulder residents and businesses do not have access to the high speeds and full potential of broadband fiber. While some local entities, usually larger companies, have been able to construct work-arounds, the cost and level of service of these is a significant barrier for the rest of the community. The lack of competition and performance impacts home, nonprofit and business users, as well as research and educational institutions. It also contributes to the existing Digital Divide in Boulder and undermines the community’s tech-savvy reputation, as well as its ability to retain and attract next-generation businesses.
At the end of 2014, the City of Boulder launched an initiative called Connect Boulder, which has two components:
Public Wi-Fi Expansion
The city is working to expand free, public Wi-Fi across Boulder so that individuals can access the Internet from a variety of devices without having to utilize data plans. Three popular public areas now offer this free service.
Construction of Fiber Optic Backbone
Broadband connectivity is a critical infrastructure service for quality of modern life, as is the case with roads, water, sewer and electricity. It is exciting to report that in 2019 the fiber optic backbone design was completed. Construction of 65 miles of fiber 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.
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