Coloradans Reclaiming Authority by “Opting Out” of Broadband Bill

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This fall, Colorado communities including Aurora, Cañon City, Florence, and Fremont County will ask voters to opt out of SB 152, reported Community Networks.

In 2005, Colorado’s state legislature passed the bill, removing local communities’ authority to take steps to use publicly owned infrastructure to offer telecommunications services either directly or with a private sector partner. However, communities can “opt out” of the law as a way to reclaim local authority.

According to Rob Brown, executive director of the Fremont County Economic Development Corporation, “From city council’s perspective, the biggest and best reason [to approve this] is it is opening up and clearing a way for other partnerships to begin.” Since Fremont County is primarily rural, when compared to Denver and the six counties surrounding it, it can’t compete for job opportunities or projects with the larger metro area, Brown added.

Within Fremont County, population 47,000, there are more than 1,500 square miles, which include two National Forests, a National Wilderness, and several other protected areas.

In early July, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to present the opt-out measure to the voters this fall, since many Coloradans feel that most decisions should be made on the local level, reported Community Networks.

August 23, 2018

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