Communities all over Colorado have voted to reclaim local authority during the past year. Even though elected officials in Fort Collins are exploring the municipal network option, the City Council has yet to present the question to voters. Editors at the local news outlet, the Coloradan, recently expressed their support for a municipal broadband network, urging community leaders to let voters decide.
The Editorial Board focuses on the benefits Fort collins can expect from increased economic development, telemedicine capabilities, and relieved congestion from telecommuting. They see Internet access as one of the essential services cities provide such as water and electricity. The Editorial Board notes that city leaders have already budgeted $300,000 to create a strategic plan that includes community broadband.
The Board acknowledges that there are many unanswered questions - funding, cost, motivation for a deployment. Yes, questions need to be answered along the way, but it is time to move forward:
One hurdle is a 2005 state law that bans municipalities from starting their own telecommunications service, however, either a local vote or a federal waiver could override the law.
The time is now to sidestep the ban and approve municipal broadband.