Northwest Colorado Broadband is a non-profit organization located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We are all about community broadband -- enabling ample, affordable, and redundant broadband to support community and economic development in rural Northwest Colorado. Formed in 2012, we started by aggregating the broadband demand of several public sector users at a single location and purchasing middle mile service to meet that demand. By aggregating demand, we were able to achieve significant cost savings and a redundant pathway to protect against outages. As a next step, we built a middle mile network to facilitate the connection of more community facilities, further growing our demand and lowering pricing. Our network is open access -- available to service providers who can take advantage of redundant, ample and well-priced backhaul -- and offer improved service options to our communities. And tomorrow? Our goal is to further enhance opportunities for community broadband access in unserved and underserved areas. We actively plan and pursue creative solutions and partnerships to achieve universal access.
Improve and expand broadband connectivity in Northwest Colorado
Provide and maintain a carrier neutral location to host middle-mile broadband services for community entities served by NCB
Provide next generation network infrastructure to support public sector communications needs, bridge service gaps, enhance redundancy and enable open access to advanced broadband networks
Deploy network infrastructure capable of delivering scalable amounts of bandwidth rquired to make Northwest Colorado Business and community anchor institutions competitive in the world economy
Like many rural communities, Steamboat Springs, Colorado has struggled with internet service outages and limited access to affordable service options. Back in 2012, community leaders convened to address the issue, ultimately forming Northwest Colorado Broadband as a non-profit organization dedicated to improving broadband service. Participants included Routt County, City of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs School District, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Yampa Valley Electric Association and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
Early on, NCB adopted a demand aggregation model as a first step toward achieving its mission. By 2014, NCB had constructed a carrier neutral location (CNL) hosted by the Steamboat Springs School District and selected Mammoth Networks through an RFP process to provide middle mile services to meet the aggregated demand of community anchor customers at the CNL. By doing so, NCB was able to secure more capacity at a lower unit cost – and through Mammoth Networks’ creative approach to network design, NCB also secured a redundant pathway to protect against outages.
In 2017, NCB expanded its distribution network and further aggregated demand by constructing open access fiber optic trunk between east and west Steamboat with lateral connections to additional community anchors. In 2017, NCB selected Mammoth to provision the network, and in a separate RFP process, chose Mammoth to operate the network and market it to third-party internet service providers. In just a few months, NCB signed the first ISP to lease dark fiber and procure lit service and colocation space at the CNL. In 2021, NCB further leveraged its network by entering into a indefeasible right of use agreement with Yampa Valley Electric Association, effectively transferring the bulk of its fiber assets to YVEA and facilitating expansion of YVEA's wholly owned Luminate Broadband subsidiary. Today, NCB self-manages its network and purchases its middle mile transport through the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments' Project THOR regional network.
NCB is a registered Colorado non-profit, and in 2017 was granted 501(c)(4) status. NCB has six board member entities, each of which appoints a representative board member. NCB conducts business pursuant to its bylaws, articles of incorporation and adopted policies.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steamboat Springs School District: Tim Miles, Technology Director; Board President
Yampa Valley Medical Center: Mark Clark, CIO; Board Vice President
City of Steamboat Springs: Kent Immenschuh, IT Manager; Board Secretary/Treasurer
Yampa Valley Electric Association: Steve Johnson, CEO
Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association: Sarah Leonard, CEO
Routt County: Robert Felinczak, IS Director
Regional and State Partners: NCB is an active participant in Project THOR and and other regional broadband efforts coordinated by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, and in statewide efforts coordinated by the Colorado Office of Information Technology.
Funding Partners: Funding partners include the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the FCC Rural Healthcare and USAC E-rate (education) programs.