UPDATE: With a 6-1 vote, the Loveland City Council approved an ordinance that will permit the city to issue bonds for a $97 million dollar municipal fiber broadband network, according to the Reporter-Herald. Brieana Reed-Harmel is the division manager of High-Speed Fiber Enterprise, a new program that will be responsible for implementing the network. Reed-Harmel said the network will be a big project for the city, and it is estimated to take three years to complete.
Most councilors supported the decision to move forward with the network. Councilor John Fogle, Ward III, said, “We’re building it for the next generation of Loveland citizens…because while we WANT faster broadband, they are going to HAVE to have it.”
Councilor Leah Johnson, Ward II, said she is confident this network will improve the community for many years to come.
In contrast, Mayor Jacki Marsh and some residents believe the public should have had an opportunity to vote on the bonding process. According to the Herald, Marsh supports municipal broadband, but is concerned about the debt citizens will be entering in order to finance the network. Marsh said, “The bottom line is we just risked/indebted the people of Loveland by $97 million without their vote of approval.”
142 municipalities in Colorado completed a Senate Bill 152 override in order to begin broadband network builds, and only nine of those began construction without allowing a public vote. Fort Collins and Longmont held a public vote, and after public approval, Fort Collins’ bond totaled $142.2 million in 2018 for a fiber system, while Longmont’s was $40.3 million in 2014 for NextLight. Loveland will receive the bonding revenue within two months, and construction will begin soon after.
January 25, 2019