From where I stand, changing direction on Connexion now would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The biggest problem with Connexion, the city of Fort Collins’ broadband service, is that the deployment wasn’t further along before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Demand for Connexion has risen dramatically since COVID. With demand comes revenue with a short delay while they hook folks up.
Internet is no longer a luxury, it’s now a necessity like water, sewer and power. The incumbents have been very slow to react to that and have continued to price internet access as a premium service: Note their price decreases since Connexion.
The new system was designed so that even the incumbents will be able to opt into the city’s fiber deployment to provide their service if they choose. That means less tearing up the streets.
The system is designed with the future in mind. The fiber infrastructure will easily handle 10 Gbps to account for demands of the future.
Having a reliable, affordable, high speed internet is essential to success in school today. The push to develop Connexion was originally driven by CSU’s desire to have a home internet for their students comparable to what they have when they are on campus. They are getting what they asked for.
Poudre School District has moved to a system where students do most of their homework on their school-provided laptops. Many underprivileged students don’t have an internet connection to use for this when at home. Connexion provides a low-cost option for those who can’t afford it otherwise.
Work From Home (WFH) is here – now. Virtually all first job interviews are done on Zoom or a similar internet based application. That won’t change when COVID-19 is in the past.
Many former on-site workers won’t return after COVID. Having been a WFH worker
for a long time now and using the other providers solutions, Connexion is far superior.
Prospective home owners are, more often, asking about internet as a decider in purchasing a home for the above reasons.
I was a member of the citizens committee from six years or so ago that worked with the city to opt out of Senate Bill 152 (a blatant attempt to legislate a monopoly) and move ahead on Connexion.
The three questions I get asked these days are:
- Is it really as good as I hear? – Yes.
- Why can’t I get it right now? – They are working as hard as they can; they are making incredible progress.
- Can I get TV with the service? – It’s in the works.
Phil Jensen lives in Fort Collins.
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