More than 25,000 homes and businesses across Longmont now rely on NextLight for internet services.
Nearly eight years after groundbreaking, NextLight now provides internet services to more than 25,000 homes and businesses across Longmont.
In August 2014, Longmont Power & Communications began work on the fiber optic internet service. To this day, it continues to expand its service area.
“Since we are building new, we are always expanding. As such, there is never really an end date for our build,” said Valerie Dodd, NextLight executive director, in an interview on Tuesday. “Basically anyone in the city of Longmont can get service.”
When the city began rolling out NextLight’s fiber optic network in 2014, Longmont had a population of about 88,000, according to the US Census Bureau. Today, Longmont is home to approximately 100,000 people, many of whom rely on NextLight for their internet service.
“In general, we have a 60% acceptance rate…on fiber-enabled premises,” Dodd said. “Virtually every location has access to our fiber and 60% of those choose to do so.”
While the vast majority of NextLight’s connections are to homes and apartments, given the city’s makeup, Dodd emphasized that numerous businesses also used the internet service.
“We’re equally successful in both areas,” Dodd said of NextLight’s presence in homes and businesses.
In 2005, the Colorado Legislature passed Senate Bill 152, which largely prohibited local governments, such as the City of Longmont, from providing cable, telephone, or Internet service without prior voter approval.
Longmont voters initially rejected the idea at the ballot box in 2009. However, in 2011, about 60 percent of voters approved a ballot measure that authorized Longmont Power & Communications to also offer Internet services as a municipal service.
“There was a lot more awareness of what fiber can do for Longmont. Google Fiber has raised the profile of fiber optic internet in general nationwide,” said Scott Rochat, public relations and marketing specialist at Longmont. “When it came back to voting in 2011, the voting problem was there… even though opponents spent $420,000 to fight it.”
In 2013, a $45.3 million bond was accepted by voters to accelerate NextLight’s network build-out. The bond is expected to be redeemed in 2029.
NextLight has received national recognition over the years, including in 2022 when PC Magazine ranked it the second fastest Internet Service Provider in the United States.
For smaller households – “a household with only a few (of) devices” – NextLight charges $39.95 per month for 100 megabits per second Internet service; and for homes that need more speed, NextLight charges $69.95 per month for 1 Gigabit Internet service, according to mynextlight.com.
NextLight is no longer offering its charter member price of $49.95 to new customers. However, people who subscribed to a charter membership when it was available are still paying the same price today.
“This is a community-owned network, a community-owned Internet service,” Rochat said. “We’ve had tremendous community support from the start, and we’re certainly very grateful for that.”
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