We've talked about the travails of municipal broadband efforts across the United States on numerous occasions, and the formula is usually the same. Some underserved community pleads with big ISPs like Comcast and Charter to provide their residents with high speed internet, after which the entrenched players refuse. And then when these same municipalities take matters into their own hands by creating their own internet service in response, those big ISPs lobby local governments to shut them down -- sometimes successfully, as in the case of Pinetops, NC.
Luckily, we can score a big win for the little guy in the town of Fort Collins, Colorado, which has just launched its Connexion internet service. Back in November 2017, the residents of the town (with a population of just under 170,000), approved a ballot measure that gave the town the go-ahead to create its own broadband internet network. Needless to say, Comcast, which has held a relative monopoly on high-speed internet service in the region, balked at the thought of Fort Collins providing internet services to its residents.
Like clockwork, Comcast ramped up its lobbying campaign against Connexion. Comcast, the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA), and other interested parties poured over $900,000 into a campaign to defeat the ballot measure approved by the people of the Fort Collins according to Ars Technica. A competing "pro-broadband" group only spent about $15,000 in its effort to defeat the measure.
In the end, despite being outspent 60:1 and facing a formidable foe like Comcast, the backers of the municipal broadband effort won and Connexion is now open for business to serve Fort Collins residents. "Finally, a broadband provider you can trust" Connexion states on its website, which is more than a subtle dig at Comcast and ISPs like it.
Connexion offers two resident plans, the first of which is a 1Gbps plan costing just $59.95 per month. Those speeds are symmetrical, which means that both uploads and downloads top out at 1Gbps. More importantly, unlike Comcast, there are no data caps or contracts tied to that pricing. If for some reason 1Gbps isn't enough for your home (we're trying to think of a reason why it wouldn't be), Connexion also offers a 10Gbps symmetrical plan with no data caps at $299.99 per month. There are no installation fees for either plan, and both comes with 24/7 local technical support services.
Connexion will also offer an internet + phone bundle at $74.90 per month, internet + TV for $119.90 per month and internet + TV + phone for $114.85 per month. The TV bundles include 80+ channels, Cloud DVR and 5 simultaneous streams per account.
Comcast's internet speeds in the area come in at 400Mbps and 1Gbps priced at $60 per month and $70 per month respectively. But you'll have to be wary of early termination fees, modem access fees, taxes and other charges as well -- Connexion's stated monthly rate is all-inclusive.
According to a study published by the Institute For Local Self-Reliance [PDF], Comcast stands to lose between $5.4 million to $22.8 million per year due to the new competition from Connexion.