Election 2018Hot Sheet

6 more Colorado towns say yes to municipal broadband

Author: Mark Harden - April 4, 2018 - Updated: April 4, 2018

Photo: aleepiskin via iStock

Voters in six Colorado communities posted the equivalent of a smiley emoji to proposals on Tuesday’s local ballots to create municipal broadband programs.

That brings to 92 the number of Colorado cities and towns where voters have decided in recent years that they’d get better internet service with their local governments involved, the Colorado Municipal League reckons.

Tuesday, 120 communities across the state held municipal elections, choosing mayors and council members and deciding ballot questions. (Click here for results on matters other than broadband.)

In Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons, and Severance, according to unofficial results, voters agreed to let their towns provide or partner with others on local broadband services.

State law bars communities from running their own high-speed internet service unless local voters specifically authorize it.

The wave in favor of community broadband has been especially pronounced in areas outside the state’s big cities where residents sometimes feel they’re not getting the best internet service from big commercial providers. In rural areas, it often doesn’t pencil out for the private sector to build or expand high-speed networks.

But such measures have passed in larger cities, too, including Colorado Springs a year ago.

While dozens of communities have passed muni-broadband measures statewide, only a handful have actually launched a local high-speed internet utility so far, including Longmont.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.