Comcast’s downvalley expansion eyes 2022 completion
Company officials stress safety efforts after 2020 natural gas explosion that claimed Gypsum woman’s life
Comcast’s ambitious $15 million downvalley fiber-optic construction project resumed construction this year and current timeline estimates call for completion in Gypsum during the first quarter of 2022 and in Eagle during the third quarter of 2022.
“About 85 percent of the work is completed in Gypsum,” said Bryan Thomas, vice president of engineering for the Comcast Mountain West Region, during an interview last week. He noted there are now 1,300 Gypsum homes that can access the Comcast system and 100 new Comcast customers in the community.
“We are excited to announce our first area of connection in the town of Eagle is targeted in late August,” Thomas said.
But as the company shares news about its construction progress, Thomas repeatedly emphasized another message. “Our first priority is always safety,” he said.
On Sept. 17 last year, a natural gas explosion leveled a home and claimed the life of a Gypsum women. The gas leak was traced back to underground utility boring done in connection with the Comcast project. In the aftermath of the accident, Comcast’s underground utility work was halted for several months. When the work resumed, the communities detailed enhanced permitting processes and communications efforts.
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Throughout the summer, residents of Eagle and Gypsum have arrived home to find a Comcast door hanger at their residences. The door hangers inform people when Comcast construction is planned in their neighborhood.
The communications efforts also include two websites: Colorado.Comcast.com/Gypsum and Colorado.Comcast.com/Eagle that are updated weekly and outline construction areas and progress in the two communities. Maps on the website include a four-color system to let residents know the status of the work at their particular address.
“Every week we are putting out updates about current activity and when a neighborhood turns from blue to green on the map, that means they are serviceable,” said Andy Davis, director of local government affairs for the Comcast Mountain West Region.
Comcast’s new network in the communities of Eagle and Gypusm will deliver broadband, video, voice, home management and business products and services to the communities. At its center is new internet connection that is “really fast, reliable and always on,” Thomas said.
He said the new network features fiber-optic cable to neighborhood nodes with small sections of coaxial cable to individual homes.
As for service costs, Leslie Oliver, the director of external communications for the Comcast Mountain West Region, said there are various packages offered at different price points. She noted that an “Internet Essentials” package offers service to low-income households for $9.95 per month and includes an option to purchase a laptop computer for $150.
Davis said the Internet Essentials program is available to households that receive any form of public assistance. He said the program demonstrates Comcast’s commitment to both digital equity and the communities it serves.
“When you make the level of investment and commitment we are making in these communities, it is an investment for the long-term,” Davis said. “These programs and services are extremely important to both communities.”
For local residents who are anxious to activate a Comcast account, another door hanger will let them know when their neighborhood is active.
“People don’t need to go into the store or call in for service until they get the door hanger for notice that their neighborhood is serviceable,” Oliver said. She added that as more addresses reach that point, Comcast’s marketing efforts will increase.