Fort Collins city council in Colorado made an epic vote to move ahead with a municipal fiber broadband network providing gigabit speeds, just two months after the cable industry giants attempted to stop the process and failed miserably! While the Federal Communications Commission has voted to eliminate the nation’s net neutrality rules, the municipal broadband network should be neutral and without data caps.
The Fort Collins City Council voted 7-0 to approve the broadband-related measures, according to a government spokesperson. The citizens have approved a ballot question that authorized the city to invest money in a modern, corporation-free broadband network. The ballot question, passed in November, didn’t guarantee that the network would be built because city council approval was still required, but that has now been finished and hailed as a great victory for the residents and the state of Colorado. Their example might be followed by other states in the following years.
The amazing thing is that residents approved the ballot question despite an anti-municipal broadband lobbying campaign backed by groups funded by Comcast and CenturyLink. Mayor Wade Troxell criticized incumbent ISPs and the local Chamber of Commerce for spreading “misinformation” to voters, The Coloradoan reported at the time.
“Last night’s three unanimous votes begin the process of building our city’s own broadband network,” said Glen Akins, a resident who helped lead the pro-municipal broadband campaign. “We’re extremely pleased the entire city council voted to support the network after the voters’ hard fought election victory late last year. The municipal broadband network will make Fort Collins an even more incredible place to live.”
“The network will deliver a ‘net-neutral’ competitive unfettered data offering that does not impose caps or usage limits on one use of data over another (i.e., does not limit streaming or charge rates based on type of use),” a new planning document says. “All application providers (data, voice, video, cloud services) are equally able to provide their services, and consumers’ access to advanced data opens up the marketplace.”
Building a citywide network is a lengthy process—the city says its goal is to be done in “less than five years.” The pro-municipal broadband effort led by community members won despite spending just $15,000. More than 57 percent of voters approved the measure.