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Fort Collins Connexion Municipal Broadband Pros and Cons

November 2020

Bottom Line

Fort Collins Connexion will provide high-speed, reliable, low-cost internet access to the entire community within a few years, a critically important investment in the city's future that residents and businesses should enthusiastically support.


Fort Collins Connexion is city-provided fiber broadband internet, phone and television service.

It was launched after a 2017 city ballot initiative passed with 57% of the vote.

Construction began in August 2019 and is expected to be completed within 36 to 48 months.

Construction started in my neighborhood in November 2020.


Public utility

  • Provide fast internet to all (families, businesses, schools, libraries, hospitals, mobile homes, low-income housing).
  • Internet should be a public utility (like phone, electric, gas, water, sewer, USPS).
  • Designed to serve the community, not generate profit.
  • Lower the digital divide.
  • Net neutrality, equal access vs. closed internet, pay to play, price tiers.


  • Break up the duopoly of commercial broadband providers (Comcast, CenturyLink).
  • Provide faster speeds, better customer service, and lower prices for all.

Community benefits

  • Attracts people and businesses.
  • Economic growth and development, job creation and retention.
  • Worker productivity, including city workers.
  • Improves city systems - government, transport, utilities, health, safety.
  • Free public wi-fi hot spots.
  • Fiber can be installed with electricity, reducing cost of new builds.

Consumer demand

  • The majority of Fort Collins citizens voted for city-run broadband.
  • Longmont and many other cities have successfully implemented city broadband.
  • High speed internet is more important for home videoconferencing for work and school due to COVID-19, especially in homes with large families and many connected devices.


  • Fiber is faster and more reliable than current commercial tech (cable, DSL).
  • Fiber is the most future-oriented tech, with much faster speeds possible.
  • Speed becomes more important with time, and older services will soon become obsolete.
  • Commercial providers won’t risk investing in large-scale fiber installations.
  • Commercial providers could even use Connexion to deliver their services.


  • Connexion: 1G $60/month, no contract, free installation, no data limit, city wide.
  • Comcast: 1G $100/month no contract + taxes/fees/$99 installation, 1.2TB/month data limit, 85.2% availability.
  • Century Link: 1G $65/month + taxes/fees/installation, 8.1% availability.
  • Clear, simple, transparent pricing is published on the Connexion site.
  • Prices are stable, and may allow cheaper options later as more people sign up.
  • Digital Equity program in 2021 will offer reduced rates for low-income customers.
  • No pushy salespeople, hidden prices, confusing deals/promotions, price increases after a year, bells and whistles you didn’t ask for.
  • No taxes are used to pay for it; bonds are paid by customers and investors.



  • 94.11% of residents have access to broadband, 90.4% have at least 2 choices.
  • Connexion currently doesn’t offer cheap lower-speed options like Longmont does.
  • Comcast currently offers a few slightly cheaper (but slower) internet options.
  • Not everyone can afford any home internet, or needs super-fast internet yet.
  • Most people currently make the most use of very high internet speed for fun (HD video, gaming), not work or learning which usually require much lower bandwidth.
  • Comcast TV/video channels, options, prices are better than Connection.
  • Municipal broadband may actually decrease competition in some communities.


  • Connexion website has FAQ and 2 quarterly reports but can’t give rollout details.
  • The project is 6 months behind schedule due to winter weather and COVID-19.
  • Large up-front infrastructure investment required $142 million in bonds plus interest.
  • The city needs to attract enough customers (28%) to pay off bonds and interest.
  • If not, city taxpayers would have to pay them back through higher utility bills.
  • Future competition with new commercial technologies (e.g. 5G networks)?


  • The city’s advertising budget is much smaller than that of the commercial providers.
  • The Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association (which included incumbent Comcast) spent nearly $1 million on lobbying efforts against Connexion.
  • States resist municipal broadband because commercial providers pay state taxes.
  • Support or opposition to municipal broadband is mostly along political party lines.
  • Conservative cable industry lobby groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council convinced 26 states to ban or restrict municipal broadband.
  • Libertarians and most other conservatives resist most government-provided services that compete with large corporations and reduce inequalities.


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