Having access to high-speed internet has become a prerequisite to fully participate in our society. We use the internet to pay bills, manage online banking, find health insurance, look for jobs, take online classes, get our news, and much more. High-speed internet is also necessary for small businesses to survive and create jobs in rural communities.
Unfortunately, about one in four Coloradans does not have high-speed Internet access—either because it is not profitable for telecommunications companies to provide service, or the service is prohibitively expensive to the consumers.
In 2005, the Colorado legislature made it illegal for communities to create their own broadband networks without jumping through hoops. The creation of municipal broadband networks now requires voter approval by ballot initiative—which is an extra cost for municipalities. The telecommunications industry lobbies heavily to oppose these initiatives.
In addition to employing every possible strategy for providing access to affordable high-speed Internet, including municipal broadband, local governments should have the freedom to create their own networks, without obstacles created by the state. Colorado Common Cause is committed to helping municipalities create and implement municipal broadband.