Vote yes to remove obstacles to broadband

By Scott Thomassen


Dear Editor:

Regarding an opt-out of Colorado Senate Bill 05-152:

As you receive your ballots for the upcoming Nov. 3 election, you will see questions regarding "re-establishing rights to provide all services restricted since 2005 by Title 29, article 27 of the Colorado Revised Statutes."

SB 05-152, as passed in 2005, prohibits most uses of municipal or county funds for infrastructure to improve local broadband service without first going to a vote of the people to let your community opt out of SB 05-152. In rural areas like Delta County, the bill has specifically served to stifle competition against much larger incumbent Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies, by forcing other startup services to duplicate expensive infrastructure if they wish to compete. Many public entities hold fiber optic assets that could be used to significantly improve the quality of our local broadband and communication services if such use wasn't specifically prohibited by the 2005 regulation. Opting out of the regulation will enable ANY commercial interest, including existing ISPs and startups, to use those assets through public/private partnerships as the public entities will allow.

In past elections other communities, including the City of Montrose, have already chosen to free themselves of this regulation by substantial margins. These communities realize that high speed broadband and communication services are vital to their future well-being. In this election, many other communities and educational institutions are forwarding the same questions. Considering our current economic struggles, it is imperative that we allow the use of these public assets to diversify our local economy.

Please vote YES on the questions to allow Delta County and your local communities to use these vital assets without restriction by the state.

Scott Thomassen
Eckert