Things move fast in Breck. The Town recently invested in an extensive network of public fiber to accelerate innovative solutions to major challenges. The Town of Breckenridge was the first to connect to Project THOR through a Summit County hosted Meet-me-Center location to support their ambitious municipal broadband project, known as Fiber9600 (9600 is the elevation of the town) as a part of the multipronged Breck Forward sustainability initiative. Breck was interested in enhanced publicly owned broadband to achieve a number of smart city initiatives, including BreckPark a pay by phone app supported pay to park system served by solar powered payment kiosks throughout town. This coupled with Breckenridge’s transportation and parking planning allowed the for the town to better manage large numbers of guests each year, mostly by car via a single highway connection to I-70.
Breck’s very popularity was part of the problem. The highway segment in 2018 had a peak weekend of winter visitors that created complete gridlock on Highway 9 when the trip count skyrocketed for a single weekend from an average peak of around 18,000 vehicles per day to over 27,000 vehicles. The town needed real-time tools for assessing available parking and communicating logistics to visitors but their cell coverage and broadband coverage from the mountain and throughout the town was too inconsistent to support those tools. Cell coverage has also been an issue for Breckenridge and Fiber9600, along with an imminent public Wi-Fi system being launched will improve coverage and capacity of the infrastructure.
The April construction update on the town website for Fiber9600 notes, “Now more than ever we see how critical fiber is as infrastructure… We want to ensure that when businesses can open their doors again, they have access to reliable and affordable internet options. We want to ensure that those working from home can have reliable connection to ensure their educational, personal and career choices.” The Town continues, “Our town is investing in fiber infrastructure that will enhance broadband service as soon as it is in place, and ensure that our digital communications, global connectivity, and community technology are future-fit. It will positively impact our local lifestyle, our ability to recruit and retain employees and compete as a tourist destination. We are building Fiber9600 not just to catch up, but to confidently leap light years ahead.”
The Town of Breckenridge partnered with ALLO Communications to manage the municipal broadband infrastructure citing, “we believe that when more than one or two providers are available in the marketplace, there is a substantial positive impact to consumers regarding cost and quality of services provided.” Muninetworks.org reported December 16, 2019 that the first residential connections were made to Fiber9600 within the first year of the project. The town took some flack for starting with an open network concept before negotiating with ALLO through what is initially to be an exclusive lease and network operation agreement, as reported in the Summit Daily in May 2019. The Town was already served by two national Internet Service Providers (ISPS) including Century Link and Comcast. The Summit Daily just broke the story about “Breckenridge aims to start building it’s own high speed internet” the prior month. Things move fast in Breck and will be moving much faster in the future. ALLO Communications has a webpage for updates in Breckenridge that includes a blog with the title “ALLO There, Breckenridge.” Find more information about the project at Fiber9600.com.