Hot Sheet

Risks remain as more Colorado communities ponder their own broadband service

Author: Dan Njegomir - October 27, 2017 - Updated: October 27, 2017

(iStock image / Faysal Ahamed)

Earlier this week Complete Colorado’s Sherrie Peif looked at the latest Colorado municipality to consider going into the broadband business in order to give residents an alternative to the big providers.

The idea of municipally owned broadband has a distinct appeal for a lot of households and businesses — they’re lured by hopes of lower rates and faster speeds — and has fared variously with the local governments that have jumped into the fray. Peif’s account mulls the less-talked-about downside of such proposals — notably, the financial risks of a citizen-owned broadband venture going belly-up — and she interviews a skeptic of Fort Collins’s upcoming ballot proposal on the subject:

Fort Collins resident Sarah Hunt says the initiative is a huge risk for residents.

“Fort Collins wants to enter the ultra-competitive, quickly evolving broadband industry,” she said. “They haven’t shown they will out-maneuver some of the world’s biggest tech companies for decades to come. If they fail, every resident, not just subscribers will have to pay $17 per month, or over $2,420 for the life of the loan.

According to Peif, Fort Collins is one of 57 Colorado communities that previously opted out of a statewide prohibition on municipally owned broadband. Now, voters there will decide on Nov. 7 whether to allow Fort Collins officials to explore a fiber optic network of the city’s own.

Definitely worth a read; here’s the link again.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.