18 years after its passage at the behest of large telecommunications companies, the Colorado law that required communities to hold an election before building broadband networks has been stricken from the books.
This week Governor Jared Polis signed a bill eliminating the previous requirement that local governments hold an election to opt-out of SB-152, passed in 2005, before offering broadband services. The previous law was not an outright barrier to municipal broadband, but did place an extra burden on communities that large providers used to try to block successful referendums. One of the most egregious examples of pushback came in Fort Collins in 2017, when an industry-funded group called "Priorities First Fort Collins" spent $451,000 against the referendum - only to see voters approve the measure 57% to 43%. Supporters of the referendum spent just $10,000 to promote a YES vote.
Overall, 122 Colorado communities have voted to authorize municipal broadband over the years, with only one town voting it down. For more details on the Colorado law, check out this excellent article at ArsTechnica.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.