Concerned that lower income residents in Denver, CO have insufficient internet access, an upcoming ballot may ask voters to elect better coverage for them, reports Westword.com. Denver residents Cory Trimm, an IT professional, and fellow resident Spencer McCullough have drafted a petition to get this initiative in front of voters. “I think our youth should have equal access to the internet,” said Trimm.
Colorado Legislature Senate Bill 152, in effect since 2005, contains an opt-out clause that would allow a municipality to compete with the private sector if the citizens vote to demand it. Councilman Paul Kashmann is a strong supporter of the ballot initiative saying, “It’s a crime that wealthy kids have high-speed internet and poor kids may not.” He added that opting out of the state law would put Denver in a better bargaining position with existing broadband providers.
“To say to our existing providers, you know, we need something more from you here,” Kashmann explained. “I’m guessing our existing providers will be lobbying about why we don’t need to be free from [Senate Bill 152]” he said, and added, “Seeking an exemption from SB-152 is not an attack on our current broadband providers.”
Comcast spokesperson Leslie Oliver weighed in, saying, “We know Denverites have a lot of choices when it comes to internet providers, and Comcast has made enormous investments to provide the best possible products and services in the City of Denver, and we are focused on continuously improving our customers’ experience. We believe it should be the collective priority for the City and Comcast to continue the strong partnership we’ve established, and foster an environment for innovation and technology advancement that connects more people to what matters most and that reduces barriers to connectivity.”
October 15, 2019