Colorado Springs Utility Fiber Deployment Moves Into Second Phase

Colorado Springs seal

Colorado Springs, Colorado and its city-owned utility have begun construction on the second phase of a promising open access fiber optic network that should bring affordable fiber broadband to the city of half a million residents.

Construction of the network by Springs Utilities began in the first region in September 2022, shortly after the city-owned utility struck a 25-year lease agreement with Ting to be the network anchor tenant. Once completed, the network aims to deliver multi-gigabit service to roughly 200,000 homes, businesses, and city anchor institutions.

Local residents can pre-order service via the Ting website, but the company has yet to announce pricing or service tiers for its Colorado Springs deployment.

Brian Wortinger, Manager of fiber optics and telecommunications for Springs Utilities, told ILSR that the first phase of deployment passed 21,000 homes in the first fiber hut reason.

“Take rate is not a consideration for us, as we will lease 100 percent of the addresses to our anchor tenant, Ting Internet,” Wortinger said when asked about subscriber interest. “Their degree of success in obtaining customers has no impact on the revenues that we will generate through our dark fiber lease with them or any other tenant.”

The first phase of the network construction began in September of 2022, resulting in 225 new fiber route miles between I-25 and North Powers Boulevard. The second phase of the deployment began in June, and is focusing on the Rockrimmon neighborhood in Northwest Colorado Springs across I-25.

Colorado Springs network construction map

Overall, project managers say they are only slightly behind their original projected schedule.

“We were able to take the lessons learned from other similar projects which allowed us to accurately predict the potential pain points in this build and take active measures to mitigate their impact,” Wortinger said. “The only item that was unusual is that we have had a colder and wetter winter and spring than normal, which has pushed back our construction timeline a bit.”

Early predictions suggest network construction should cost the utility somewhere between $45 and $100 million a year for the next six years, with everyone in the city having access to affordable multi-gigabit fiber service by the end of 2028.

The build is being funded through the utilities’ planned capital budget and lease payments from Ting Internet and other network tenants (initial chatter that one of those tenants could be Google Fiber never materialized into an actual partnership, officials state).

Since 2015, Tucows-owned Ting has announced 17 varying partnerships with towns and cities around the U.S. in a bid to help expand U.S. access to affordable fiber.

“Ting is excited to bring our fiber internet to Colorado Springs,” the company told ILSR in a statement. “Colorado Springs Utilities is taking impressive steps to scale infrastructure and provide best-in-class utilities that meet the needs of the thriving community. We’re looking forward to serving the people of Colorado Springs in the near future.”