The estimated $40 million to $50 million needed to build-out Longmont’s high-speed broadband network may come in the form of private-activity bonds.
City officials are researching the bond plan, according to Gabe Santos, Longmont’s elected mayor pro-tem. The Longmont City Council is expected to discuss the private-activity bond research at a meeting slated for Tuesday, May 14.
Such bonds are tax-exempt, and can be used for various development purposes, including housing, utility infrastructure and redevelopment of blighted areas, according to information on the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website. The city could sell the bonds, which are allocated by the federal government.
The Platte River Power Authority paid $1.1 million to install the 17-mile high-speed broadband network in 1997. Longmont voters in 2011 approved a measure to allow the city to sell broadband services to the community. The city owns and operates the broadband service.
About 40 companies have expressed interest in signing up for the broadband service so far, said Vince Jordan, broadband services manager at Longmont Power and Communications. An estimated 1,300 companies are within 500 feet of the broadband network infrastructure.
Even though it’s often expensive to run fiber-optic cable to buildings that don’t have it, the local economy is expected to benefit widely from companies having access to less expensive, faster broadband service, Jordan said.
“By putting money back into (company) pockets and upgrading levels of service so they operate more efficiently and effectively, we hope that translates into more jobs,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to make every dollar go a long way.”
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