Boulder, Colo., Explores Benefits of Municipal Broadband

The city wants to measure every way it would benefit from this move before considering a rollout.

Once upon a time, the Internet was viewed as a luxury — the garnish atop life’s mouthwatering entrée. But in 2015 it’s a necessity that everyone from elementary-school students to the mayors of towns across the United States uses to perform daily tasks.

Understanding the Internet’s sweeping importance and wanting to make sure all residents have the same level of access to the web, Boulder, Colo., is researching the possibility of municipal broadband.

A year ago more than 83 percent of Boulder’s voters favored either creating a public broadband service or collaborating with private companies to open access to its network. This encouraged the development of a free public Wi-Fi network in the Civic area of downtown Boulder, Government Technology reports.

In addition, Boulder has a 100-mile high-speed fiber optic network that hasn’t been used. That’s why the city has tapped CTC Technology and Energy, a Maryland-based communications and IT engineering consulting firm, to research how the network might improve daily life — from the private sector to education.

“We encourage residents and businesses to tell us what types of services they currently use, what's working for them and what's not, so that we can fully understand our community's needs,” Don Ingle, Boulder’s information technology director, told Government Technology.

CTC’s study may be finished by next spring, which coincides with City Council budget planning for the following fiscal year and potential ballot measures, Ingle revealed to the publication. Meanwhile, Colorado residents have displayed overwhelming support for municipal broadband, with 44 communities voting in favor of it last week

arcoss/Thinkstock
Nov 11 2015