We enjoyed having Ian Carmichael from the Longmont Power & Communications Department present at a recent sales meeting to discuss the City of Longmont’s NextLight™ fiber network. After the presentation, Ian was kind enough to answer our questions about NextLight™ and the potential effect it can have on home values:
1. Can you talk little about what NextLight™ is and how it came to be?
A: Back in 1997 Longmont Power & Communications (LPC) and Platte River Power Authority installed a 17 mile fiber ring within the City of Longmont that would improve the data communications of the electrical network enabling us to monitor and control our electrical distribution system. Since fiber was inexpensive, we put in more fiber than what was needed. Around this same time citizens started going to City Council meetings to complain about their access to slow dial-up modem service and the inability to access newer services like DSL that were being offered in Denver. The incumbent cable and phone company would not commit to when they would make the same investment in Longmont. Fast forward, LPC looked to the Private Sector for a partnership to use the fiber loop. The Incumbents said no, so the City put out an RFP for a private partner. In 2000 Longmont partnered with a company named Adesta, however that company soon went bankrupt and in 2005 SB152 was put in place. SB152 prohibited any municipality from providing broadband service, unless they had the consent of its citizens to do so. Long story short we were able to get the initiative passed on the 2nd try, though we had heavy opposition and a lot of misinformation spread by both the cable and telephone companies (they spent around $465k during both elections to try and defeat the issue).
2. How does the speed of NextLight™ compare to the local competition?
A: Nextlight™ offers speeds for residential customers of 1 Gig (1000 Mbps) symmetrical. In comparison Centurylink advertises speeds of up to 40Mbps (download) and Comcast is offering speeds of up to 150 Mbps(download) with much slower upload speeds. NextLight™ was rated as one of the fastest ISPs in the country.
3. Can you talk about the advantages of the charter membership program and what the eligibility requirements are?
A: The Charter Membership entitles customers to a rate of $49.95 for our 1 Gig offering (normally $99.95). The customer keeps that rate with them if they should move elsewhere in Longmont and additionally the next resident in their home will also be entitled to the Charter membership. Folks can qualify by either ordering the service within 3 months that service is available at their location or by being a new resident to the City of Longmont. Further details can be found on our website.
4. Is there evidence that suggests that access to high speed internet like NextLight™ can increase the value of a home?
A: Independent stories can confirm this, including an article in the Wall Street Journal and another from Computer World. Most say that home values can increase between $3,000.00 and $8,000.00. Survey’s have also shown that broadband is one of the higher items on the list of ‘must haves’ for home buyers and renters. This will be more important as more connected devices come to market (i.e. – smart thermostats, deadbolts, security cameras, televisions, etc.).
For more information on NextLight™ including service availability maps visit The City of Longmont’s website.