A question on the November ballot will allow Pueblo, CO voters the chance to weigh in on the direction of broadband in their city. As the Pueblo Chieftain reports, a state law that places certain restrictions on broadband operations could be waived, as it has been in other Colorado cities. Opting out of the law could give Pueblo the opportunity to extend broadband to residents who currently lack service.
“We want to be able to create and bring a solution to Pueblo so that we can improve the quality of life, economic opportunities and civic opportunities for the community,” said consultancy Co-Create CEO Salvador Acunas. Pueblo has already hired Co-Create to help it craft a broadband plan to help it address its unique needs.
The ballot initiative frees up the city’s ability to apply for grants and funding to expand broadband access. As Mayor Nick Gradisar told the Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo is not interested in stepping into the broadband provider arena, but it would like to explore partnership options with existing providers. Gradisar noted that his goal is “to make sure that all of our residents have an opportunity for those high-speed internet services, and not just allow [broadband companies] to cherry pick the ones that can pay the most.”
A 2019 survey found that almost twenty percent of Puebloans lacked adequate digital coverage.
Passing the initiative, said Co-Create CTO Denise Atkinson-Shorey, “Just gives the city a lot of choices and a lot of opportunity to bring better broadband at better pricing to residents and communities.”