LONGMONT - It could cost from $40 million to $50 million to build-out a broadband network in the city of Longmont, according to a consultant, the city's broadband services manager said Friday.

Consultant Uptown Services LLC, with offices in Boulder, has a $24,995 contract with the city to come up with a business plan that includes all financing options to complete such a network, said Vince Jordan, broadband services manager for Longmont Power & Communications, a city department. Longmont has an existing network of about 55 miles of fiber-optic cable.

The research will be presented to the Longmont City Council in April for discussion, Jordan said. Longmont already can sell telecommunications services to businesses and residents from its existing fiber-optic loop, after voters in November passed a measure to allow it.

If members of the city council approve financing measures, a full broadband build-out would be available to the approximately 4,000 companies in Longmont in the future, Jordan said. About 1,280 companies and 1,100 residences currently are within 500 feet of the city's existing network.

When all is said and done, a city-owned and operated broadband network may be able to offer lower monthly rates to customers in the future than private companies such as Comcast and CenturyLink, Jordan said. The reason? All Longmont residents already are electricity customers and the government department does not need to make a profit as a private company does, Jordan said.

If a build-out was funded through rate fees alone, it would take 50 years or so to get the whole city connected, Jordan said.

In the meantime, the city is working with approximately 20 companies and about 10 residents who want to hook up to the existing network. It can cost as much as $25,000 for a company to connect from a building to the existing network, Jordan said, depending on location and other infrastructure variables. Longmont Power & Communications can estimate connection costs from any Longmont building to the existing fiber-optic loop. For more information, contact the city office at 303-651-8386.