Until the late 1990s, Platte River used radios, power line carrier, and leased phone lines to operate its transmission system assets and electrical generation. These tools were also used to coordinate regional hydro power and electrical transmission services provided by the federal government.
In 1998, Platte River’s Board of Directors approved the funds necessary to modernize the communications network across its service territory. Leadership then began the process of constructing a fiber optic network to digitally enable seamless integration between generation and transmission resources as well as the distribution systems of the owner communities. Because fiber installation, not the strand count within a cable itself, is where the bulk of the cost resides, Platte River added more fiber capacity than it needed to support the future communication needs of its owner communities.
Since construction, excess fiber strands within the network have been made available for lease. The fiber optic network quickly became the regional communication backbone providing essential high-speed connectivity for governmental and commercial communication.
In fact, the fiber optic network provided a lifeline in an extreme time of need. During the 2013 flood in Estes Park, Platte River bypassed severed communications lines by using excess fiber capacity to re-establish communications among emergency responders, health care institutions, law enforcement, municipal services and recovery organizations.
The City of Longmont was the first community to take ownership of its excess capacity fibers within the fiber optic network. They have since established a municipal broadband service that is nationally recognized for its high quality and speed.
In December 2018, Platte River’s Board of Directors approved an inter-governmental agreement enabling Platte River to transfer excess capacity fiber to the remaining communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, and Loveland. Each community is beginning to develop high-speed telecommunication services for their respective customers.
Going forward, Platte River is committed to maintaining and supporting the fiber optic network and the communication needs of our owner communities.