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Chappell writes: "The city of Fort Collins, Colo., will build a system to deliver 'high speed next-generation broadband to the entire community,' after its City Council enacted a ballot initiative that voters approved in November. The move comes despite resistance from cable and telecom companies."

An internet cable. (photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)
An internet cable. (photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)


Fort Collins, Colorado, Will Create Broadband Utility, 'Committed' to Net Neutrality

By Bill Chappell, NPR

05 January 18

 

he city of Fort Collins, Colo., will build a system to deliver "high speed next-generation broadband to the entire community," after its City Council enacted a ballot initiative that voters approved in November. The move comes despite resistance from cable and telecom companies.

The city will become an Internet service provider and provide broadband as a utility, building out its own infrastructure — a plan that it approved up to $150 million in bonds and debt to accomplish. It expects to pay off that amount within 14 years of service.

The council approved the plan this week, in its first session of the new year. The vote was a unanimous 7-0; it came two months after nearly 60 percent of voters embraced the broadband plan. Opponents of the new utility service spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad campaigns to fight it, through a group called Priorities First Fort Collins.

Foes of the plan had included Internet providers Comcast and CenturyLink, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which is in favor of municipal and public networks.

Fort Collins' broadband could begin serving its first customers within two years; the city says the full network would likely take three to four years to complete. It is issuing requests for proposals for companies to submit their bids to engineer, equip and market the new utility.

On its webpage devoted to the broadband project, Fort Collins says that the city "is committed to the principles of Net Neutrality," adding, "The City Broadband Plan does not call for any restrictions on access including uploads, downloads, delivery methods or providers (email, Skype, Netflix, etc.)."

The broadband plan is going ahead despite a Colorado law that prohibits local governments from creating broadband networks; Fort Collins voters overrode that law in 2015. In November, 19 more Colorado cities and counties voted to opt out of the law — joining around 100 others in the state, The Denver Post reported.

"The city hopes to offer 1 gigabit-per-second speed for uploads and downloads," the Coloradoan reported in November. Projected pricing for residential customers is $70 per month for 1gbps and $50 for 50 mbps."

Fort Collins had initially taken up the idea of an improved broadband network back in 2010, when it teamed up with Colorado State University to apply for the Google Fiber challenge. After Google did not choose the city for the program, it incorporated the ideas into its strategic plan.


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+7 # RLF 2018-01-06 06:52
Where are the major cities here? NYC could easily do this but the cable companies instead insist on monopolies and give crap service.
 
 
+6 # relegn 2018-01-06 07:35
This is what cities across the country should be doing. Although the prices seem a little high to have full access for all income brackets.
 
 
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-01-06 08:01
This is the way to go. Public utility internet will take the for-profit corporations like Comcast and Verizon right out of the picture, just as long as the utility remains public and is operated as a non-profit.

They need to get the price down. I don't see why it would cost $70 a month. The infrastructure is not all that expensive and most of it is a one-time cost. The for-profits will under-price $70 a month and attract customers. For a lot of people $70 a month is too much.
 
 
+5 # Texas Aggie 2018-01-06 09:51
Verizon did this in PA decades ago, bought off the legislature to prohibit communities from installing their own systems. Since then, they and other suppliers have done the same thing in other states. They use the bit about how private companies are more efficient than government, but they never explain why they can't provide the networks that the communities want for themselves. IOW, if private corporations were any good at providing utilities, they wouldn't need legal protection from government competition.
 
 
+5 # vicnada 2018-01-06 11:17
The blueprint for a true rebellion. Offer encryption as standard policy for all communications and dump the NSA at the same time.
 

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