You have a paper to turn in that’s due at 11:59 p.m. and it’s 11:50 p.m. You go to upload the file and a message pops up telling you the wait time is 11 minutes. Your paper is late, and you get deducted points. We’ve all been there, but there may be a solution. 

Fort Collins Connexion is providing a fiber-based network as part of their broadband initiative. Offered as a monthly utility, residents are able to receive one gigabit internet for $59.95 a month

“There are no contracts,” said Erin Shanley, Connexion broadband marketing manager. “There are no data caps, and for residential internet, we are waiving installation fees.” 

This fiber network will utilize gigabit internet, which is capable of delivering speeds up to 40 times faster than regular internet.

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This project was approved in 2017 by 57%, costing $142 million bonds issued last June, Shanley said. 

What is gigabit internet?

In a world of streaming, uploading and sharing, access to fast internet speed is a necessity. Gigabit internet will allow both uploading and downloading speeds to be faster and more efficient for users, Shanley said. 

Typically, download speeds are faster than upload speeds with traditional internet. With a fiber network, that ratio will become more even. 

A gigabit is commonly used for measuring the amount of data transferred in a second between two telecommunication points. 

“Basically, a gigabit is 1,000 megabits,” Shanley said. “Let’s say you have 10 megabit speed at your house. A gigabit is 100 times faster.” 

But what’s the difference between Connexion and companies such as CenturyLink or Comcast? 

Fiber. 

Most companies use a coaxial cable. The coax cable contains a copper core insulated with aluminum. A coax cable can supply both the internet connection and television networks at the same time. Residents need a coax connection from the street to the modem for the internet service to work. 

Shanley said service providers like Comcast and CenturyLink have fiber in some locations, but they are limited in comparison to Connexion. These providers generally use fiber to the node with a coax cable on the side of the residence. This type of installation can have interference and degradation and can affect the connection being delivered. 

There are neighborhoods who maybe have only one service provider option. There are people who are only getting one megabit speed. The fact that we are going to be offering 1,000, you can imagine how that performance is.”  Erin Shanley, Connexion broadband marketing manager

Connexion offers fiber directly to the home, eliminating the coax cable altogether, using what Shanley calls “flower pots.” These devices have the ability to serve two homes. When someone signs up for Connexion internet services, a team will connect the fiber housed inside the flower pot to a device that sits outside the house. The fiber will be run through the device, connecting to the modem. 

Why is this relevant?

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Students will be able to access what they need at faster speeds than before with their current providers with the new fiber network. 

“I can’t do anything without the internet; I rely on it so much,” said Hannah Drysdale, Colorado State University junior and journalism major. “I need to open Canvas and check what I have to do. If something needs to be turned in at a certain time, I need the internet for that. If it’s not up to date, you have to go somewhere where it is. To be able to do it in the convenience of your home I think is important.” 

CSU and Connexion are working together to bring the fiber network to off-campus University housing such as Ram’s Village. Connexion will reach out to different property management companies and negotiate terms for potential business. 

Connexion is also offering altered monthly plans for low-income households. A broadband income-qualified rate was presented to City Council Sept. 10. This initiative is still awaiting the Council’s approval. 

“If you can increase (internet) access to maybe socioeconomically disadvantaged communities or maybe citizens who feel like they don’t have the economic resources or the hours in a day to work that much more to pay for their internet, I think that could be really helpful,” said sophomore and ecosystems science and sustainability major Mark Daniels.

The rate would be reduced to $19.95 per month for one gigabit speed internet. Details about the rate and how to secure the discount will be available Jan. 6, 2020. 

There is currently no student rate for Connexion services, but it could be a potential option discussed in the future, Shanley said. 

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“We saw that there was a complete lack of affordable high-speed internet for all residents and businesses in the City of Fort Collins,” Shanley said. “There are neighborhoods who maybe have only one service provider option. There are people who are only getting one megabit speed. The fact that we are going to be offering 1,000, you can imagine how that performance is.”  

The mayor and city manager could not be reached for comment.

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.

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