Letter to the Editor – Supports Broadband Opt-Out Plans

Supports broadband opt-out plans
Dear Editor:
Few people would argue that America has always been a land of choices. It’s ingrained in the system. People should have choices, whether it’s a brand of SUV or access to the broadband service provider of choice. However, there are times when decisions made with the best of intentions limit these choices. That has been the case with Colorado’s Senate Bill 152 since its passage in 2005.
This is more than a question of local government versus corporations. Broadband service is to the 21st century what electricity was to the 20th century. Not a luxury, but a necessity. SB152 prevents local governments from using their broadband for services, other than government operations such as traffic signals, unless there is a local vote to do otherwise. The law also prohibits local governments from competing with mega-giant corporations to provide high-speed internet to residents and businesses. As a result, those corporations often gained a monopoly for their services and didn’t always make good on their promises of reliable, high speed internet for everybody.
In Centennial in 2013, I helped pioneer that city’s move to partner with the private sector in providing faster, better and less expensive broadband. Since then, 50 cities and counties have passed an exemption to SB152, freeing them to simply explore improved services and in partnership with the private sector to become so-called gigabit cities. This Nov. 8, voters in at least 22 cities and counties have an opportunity to make the same choice.
Technology is the key to any community looking to grow and fast, reliable internet heavily impacts the overall economic development of a community. Broadband that can reliably accommodate large amounts of data, graphics and video mean the difference between the growth that major job-providing companies and telecommuters can bring and population decline.
For more than 100 years, HR Green has provided engineering, technical and management solutions that help communities achieve success, including a number of communities here in Colorado.
We understand the great need for high-speed internet in many Colorado communities like Cripple Creek, Victor, Woodland Park and Teller County. That’s why we encourage voters who have this issue on the ballot to vote in favor of exemption. A yes vote gives your community the opportunity to explore additional options. You’re not obligated to move forward, but you can offer your community the choice. And in the end, that’s what it comes back to — having choices.
David Zelenok
Manager, Local Government Services, HR Green, Inc.

Note: HR Green, Inc. is a civil engineering firm that provides a wide range of services to cities and counties in 9 states including Colorado. These services include developing collaborative engineering, technical and management solutions that connect and shape communities.