Boulder Considers Municipal Broadband

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Boulder is the latest city to push back against Colorado’s municipal broadband block. In 2005, the Colorado legislature passed a bill that would effectively block municipal broadband networks in the state. However, as CivSource has previously reported, city councils are pushing back with votes of their own and workarounds to build municipal broadband networks when traditional broadband providers have opted out.

Montrose, Colorado had a vote on this issue in March citing the enormous growth in Chattanooga, Tennessee after that city built its own gigabit municipal broadband network. Longmont, Colorado had a similar vote in 2011. Now, Boulder appears to be looking at a similar workaround. On Tuesday the city council will vote on a set of proposals that would give the city the option to build a network later this year.

“We just think that not having this legislative monkey on our backs would really foster the ability to have discussions for the future even though we don’t have any concrete plans at this point,” said Don Ingle, information technology director for the city, told the Boulder County Business Report.

Boulder is looking at public-private-partnership model for its municipal broadband network, the other proposal would only allow for a network through a third party. Both Longmont and Montrose are going ahead with plans to build out networks. The efforts are encouraging given the all out assault telecommunications providers have unleashed on municipal broadband nationwide, at the expense of economic development in municipalities. Watch this space.