2018 Ballot Question 1
And Pros and Cons of Ballot Question 1
BALLOT QUESTION 1
Shall the TOWN OF FIRESTONE, without increasing taxes by this measure, be authorized to provide high-speed Internet services (advanced services), telecommunications services, and/or cable television services, including but not limited to any new and improved high bandwidth service(s) based on future technologies, to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, nonprofit entities and other users of such services, either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners, as expressly permitted by COLORADO REVISED STATUTES §§ 29-27-101 to 304, “Competition in Utility and Entertainment Services"?
ABOUT THE BALLOT QUESTION
Ballot Question 1 will be on the Firestone ballot for the regular municipal election to be held on April 3, 2018. If passed, Ballot Question 1 would remove the Town from restrictions in Colorado Senate Bill 05-152 (“SB-152”), which limits the ability of Colorado municipalities to engage or offer to engage in providing the following services:
- Internet service in Town-owned facilities or in areas of the community;
- Internet service throughout the entire community, by leveraging government infrastructure and partnering with private business; and
- Direct provision of broadband services by municipal government.
Approval of the ballot question would not prevent any private business, including existing broadband providers, from initiating or continuing to provide these services. 68 Colorado municipalities have received approval from voters for similar ballot measures.
SB-152 requires that a local government hold an election before it may engage or offer to engage in providing broadband services. If approved, Ballot Question 1 would permit Firestone to explore options to serve the broadband needs of residents, including the pursuit of business partnerships with private companies.
The Town currently has no plans to create a public broadband utility.
PROS AND CONS OF BALLOT QUESTION 1
Pros (Arguments in Favor of Ballot Question 1)
- A voter-approved exemption from SB-152 would:
- Restore the telecommunications and cable autonomy that the Town had prior to SB-152’s passage in 2005.
- Permit the Town to provide Internet service in Town-owned facilities (if it so chooses).
- Permit the Town to explore options to serve the broadband needs of residents, including pursuit of business partnerships with private companies to increase the community’s access to broadband Internet.
- Potentially result in the increase of Internet connection speeds, depending on how the Town chooses to use the voter-approved authority.
Cons (Arguments Against Ballot Question 1)
- Adding a measure to the ballot to exempt the Town from SB-152 involves costs and staff time that the Town is responsible for paying.
- The Town has no current plans to create a public broadband utility, and this ballot measure may create public expectations for the Town to develop municipal broadband service.
- Voter approval does not guarantee that the Town will establish business partnerships with private companies to increase the community’s access to broadband Internet, and may not result in Internet service improvement.
- The private sector already provides broadband services.