Vote yes on 1A to increase economic diversification

By C. Bruce Hovde


Dear Editor:

I urge all Delta County Voters to VOTE YES on Delta County Ballot Question 1A. Delta County Ballot Question 1A asks the basic question to voters, shall the county have a role in bringing improved broadband infrastructure to the entire county. It is widely known that providing increased broadband in the county will help our area keep existing businesses and attract companies to Delta County. There are existing viable businesses that literally have to drive to other areas of the state just to upload and download data. That is burdensome and increases operating costs. Improving broadband allows these businesses to operate efficiently.

Delta County will not get into the Internet business; they want to provide the infrastructure for the middle mile so that private enterprise can take the Internet direct to individual residences. The main goal of providing the middle mile is to allow for increased capacity and redundancy for the county. In addition to the economic development, increased capacity allows our hospitals and medical community to function in the age of telemedicine and ensures our schools can meet testing standards. There are several examples of businesses that have not relocated or started here because they do not have adequate Internet capacity to function and thrive. Delta County needs to position itself to attract a wide, diverse range of businesses to offset the decrease in our mining sector, and broadband is one tool that allows us to do so.

Municipalities, Depart-ment of Local Affairs, Delta County, Region 10 and Delta County Economic Development are partnering in this effort and asking the voters to allow each entity to opt out of Senate Bill 152. If voters approve, this effort will only be for the middle mile of broadband infrastructure. There is no increase in taxes associated with this ballot question. This is an appropriate role for county governments and towns to provide the base infrastructure and then get out of the way and let private industry take the lead. I urge all Delta County voters to VOTE YES on Delta County Ballot Question 1A.

C. Bruce Hovde
Delta County
Commissioner
District 2