DCED is working with partners, Region 10 and DMEA, to bring high-speed broadband internet to Delta County. Delta County and City of Montrose were recently awarded a $5.2 million dollar DOLA grant to construct the "middle mile" in bringing broadband to our communities. As part of the development and building of the "middle mile" and "last mile", Delta County Cedaredge, City of Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia have put Opting Out of SB05-152 on the ballot for this upcoming November election. Local governments are doing this to have all options available to them in the building of this infrastructure.
In a nutshell, Colorado Senate Bill 152, 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 town opt-out of SB-152.
The current Colorado SB-152 law limits the ability of Colorado towns to provide a broad spectrum of services and it defines those high-speed internet as 256 kbps (when in current day broadband is defined at 25 Mbps download speed and 4 Mbps upload speed). The law limits local governments from:
• Providing free Internet service over 256 Kbps in city libraries, parks and community centers or other public outdoor spaces;
• Investing in broadband networks directly or indirectly.
• Partnering with private businesses and leveraging government infrastructure to provide affordable and high-speed Internet service throughout the entire community; and
• Direct provision of broadband services by municipal governments.
More and more local governments are looking to use public dollars to improve broadband infrastructure. When towns and cities have put Opt Out of SB-152 on the ballot they have passed with a resounding yes and strong majority.
• The vast majority of local governments who have passed the SB152 question ARE NOT interested in providing actual broadband services themselves.
• BUT INSTEAD local governments have put it to the vote of the citizens so they can enhance local broadband infrastructure.
For example: This would allow – if needed – towns to begin exploring options to make its assets available to serve the broadband needs of the residents and businesses, most likely through a public-private partnership.
Rural areas of Colorado are the least served by broadband services do to population and geography, and we are the most in need of broadband services for economic development.