On November 8th, 2017, voters in 19 Colorado communities chose local telecommunications authority with an average rate of 83 percent. Now, a total of 117 Colorado communities opt out of the restrictive, anti-municipal broadband state law, SB 152. For years, we at ILSR have been covering the developments in Colorado as voters reclaim local telecommunications authority.
The media, both locally and nationally, took notice of our efforts.
Here's a roundup of stories in which national, state, and local outlets cited our work and provided information to ensure this vital issue gained coverage. Read more in our story covering the votes.
MEDIA COVERAGE - "19 Colorado Communities Opt out of Restrictive State Broadband Law"
Big Telecom Spent $200,000 to Try to Prevent a Colorado Town From Even Talking About a City-Run Internet by Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard- October 25, 2017
"There are two explanations: one is that all of the cable companies in the state feel very strongly about drawing a line in the sand now, after 100 communities have already made this decision," Christopher Mitchell, Community Broadband Networks initiative director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said over the phone. "Or Comcast is the one pushing it, and we've seen that in countless states before."
Activists target Comcast over municipal broadband in Seattle, Colorado by Bob Fernandez, The Philly Inquirer - November 6, 2017
Comcast has a lot to lose if municipal broadband takes off by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica - November 3, 2017
Comcast and trade groups that Comcast belongs to made some well-placed political donations as elections next week in Seattle, Washington, and Fort Collins, Colorado, could determine whether the cities pursue municipal broadband projects. With that in mind, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative analyzed how much revenue Comcast stands to lose if both cities build their own broadband networks.
"Evidence from other cities suggests that a real choice in broadband services could reduce Comcast's revenues by millions of dollars per month," the group, which advocates for municipal broadband projects, wrote in a policy brief. "Competition in Fort Collins would cost Comcast between $5.4 million and $22.8 million per year. In Seattle, robust competition would cost between $20 million and $84 million per year."
Comcast could lose $84M in Seattle from muni broadband, new report says by Daniel Frankel, Fierce Cable - November 6, 2017
Comcast would lose as much as $84 million a year in Seattle and $22.8 a year in Fort Collins, Colorado, if municipal broadband projects the cable giant opposes are allowed to develop, a new report said.
The policy brief (PDF), published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative, and originally reported on by Ars Technica, said that with 138,000 customers in the Seattle area at the end of 2016, Comcast would lose between $20 million to $84 million in annual revenue, should a contested plan to build local municipal broadband come to fruition.
This Week in Comcast: How big of a threat does municipal broadband pose? by Michelle Caffrey, Philadelpha Business Journal - November 7, 2017
The Community Broadband Networks Initiative argues the investment provides significant returns by increasing competition for companies used to operating largely as the only choice for internet in some areas. Costs are then driven down, speeds are driven up and, supporters argue, municipal services themselves benefit from being able to control their own network and costs. Chattanooga, Tenn.’s community-owned electric utility, a pioneer in this space that’s often pointed to as an example,reportedly turns a profit and allows the utility to reinvest tens of millions back into its infrastructure.
Nearly Half of Colorado Counties Have Formally Rejected a Comcast-Backed Law Restricting City-Run Internet by Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard- November 8, 2017
In addition to the 31 counties that have voted to overrule the state restrictions, dozens of municipalities in the state have also passed similar ballot measures. Including cities, towns, and counties, more than 100 communities in Colorado have pushed back against the 12-year-old prohibition, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
Comcast wins one, loses one on muni broadband by Daniel Frankel, Fierce Cable - November 8, 2017
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative estimates that Comcast could lose between $20 million and $84 million per year in revenue if Seattle were to launch a muni broadband service.
Sorry, Comcast: Voters say “yes” to city-run broadband in Colorado by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica - November 8, 2017
Colorado Voters Strike Down Comcast's Awful State Law by Karl Bode, DSL Reports - November 8, 2017
This week, Fort Collins voters were allowed to vote whether they'd like to ignore the law too. And while the vote only opens the door to having a conversation about the city building its own broadband network, Comcast and Centurylink broke local political spending records in an attempt to scuttle it. Said effort involved running a series of misleading ads claiming that locals would see fewer road repairs and less affordable housing if they voted yes.
19 more Colorado cities and counties vote in favor of city-owned internet, while Fort Collins approves $150 million to move forward by Tamara Chuang, Denver Post - November 8, 2017
According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which has tracked broadband votes for years, the 19 cities and counties join about 100 others in the state that previously opted out of Senate Bill 152. That bill, passed in 2005, restricts local governments from using taxpayer dollars to build their own broadband networks.
“These cities and counties recognize that they cannot count on Comcast and CenturyLink alone to meet local needs, which is why you see overwhelming support even in an off-year election,” Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said in a statement.
Despite 'Misinformation' Campaign by Telecom Industry, Municipal Broadband Wins in Colorado by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams - November 9, 2017
This week in Colorado, in addition to the Fort Collins financing vote, "19 Colorado communities chose local telecommunications authority with an average rate of 83 percent," joining nearly 100 other state communities that have opted out of the law, according to the ILSR, which tracks local broadband initiatives nationwide.
Despite Comcast's "misinformation campaign," Colorodans vote en masse to reject ban on municipal internet by Corey Doctorow, Boing Boing - November 9, 2017
Voters de-Bruce, OK broadband and pot taxes by Charles Ashby, The Daily Sentinal - November 2017
As a result, several of them are taking the next step toward actually getting high-speed internet that traditional providers aren't offering, said Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Network, a national initiative started by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Self Reliance.
"We have seen overwhelming support for local internet choice in Colorado," Mitchell said. "These cities and counties recognize that they cannot count on Comcast and CenturyLink alone to meet local needs, which is why you see overwhelming support even in an off-year election."
This Week in Comcast: Why the impending fight over AT&T merger matters by Michelle Caffrey, Philadelphia Business Journal - November 14, 2017
If municipal broadband comes to fruition there, then Comcast could lose between $5.4 million and $22.8 million, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative estimated.