Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Broadband on the rise

Broadband on the rise

An old boiler room in the school district’s administrative building is reshaping broadband access in Steamboat Springs.

In May 2014, members of the Northwest Colorado Broadband co-op dedicated the site as a new carrier-neutral location, allowing Northwest Colorado Broadband to connect to middle-mile broadband provider Mammoth Networks. The site allows the school district, city and county to aggregate their demand and pay less for more connectivity, while allowing Mammoth to compete to provide middle-mile services to local Internet service providers and institutional customers.

“Eventually, it’s going to help the entire community,” Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks says.

Yampa Valley Medical Center and Yampa Valley Electric Association will join in the next phase, further aggregating the institutional broadband demand. The city and county each will get 150 Mbps, and the school district 700 Mbps, dramatic improvements to their connections. Mammoth Networks can scale the connection to 10 Gbps and beyond.

Mammoth Networks and other carriers also recently secured an auxiliary connection through Hayden, meaning that if something happens to the fiber line from the east, connections still can get through from the west.

“To my knowledge, it’s never been accomplished up in this valley before,” says Vince O’Connor, the city’s information systems manager, adding that the redundancy will eliminate lost connection consequences. “It’s going to be a game changer as far as broadband access and reliability around here.”

More competition for middle-mile services also should allow the town’s last mile providers to reduce their own costs while improving speeds, redundancy and service. Internet connections to homes and businesses also should get cheaper and faster.

“One of the great outcomes of the Northwest Colorado Broadband initiative is the effective partnership among members and the ongoing collaboration with service providers to expand and improve broadband service for business and residential customers throughout Routt County,” the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Economic Development Director Jane Blackstone says. “It’s a big improvement.”

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