Fort Collins, Colo. has just launched Connexion, a community-owned fiber network. As they build out the network, city leaders are already planning ahead to ensure all residents are able to benefit from better connectivity.
Fort Collins has developed an income-qualified rate program for internet service, which will be funded via a broadband PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) paid by Connexion. This initiative would allow qualified residents connect to symmetrical gig service for $19.95/month, and eligibility for the program will mirror income-qualified credits the city offers for other utilities. Importantly, income-qualified service will be made available in tandem with the network roll-out, instead of being implemented after network completion in 2-3 years. While this program has not been officially finalized, it has strong support from community leaders and residents and will likely be approved by Fort Collins City Council later this fall.
Fort Collins is also working to develop a robust digital inclusion strategy in the coming years that will fit within the city’s social sustainability plan. This program may include educational outreach, community partnerships, and digital skill training and development.