2018 Ballot Questions: 3K: Broadband services  in Aurora

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Aurora may soon join more than 90 municipalities in Colorado that have opted out of a 2005 state law prohibiting municipal governments from providing its own broadband services. City council members unanimously voted earlier this year to put the question on the ballot, 3K.

Opting out would allow the city to “leverage financial resources, as well as community-owned infrastructure, to improve broadband access to its citizens,” according to city documents prepared by the Kissinger & Fellman law firm earlier this year.

They make the case for opting out as mostly financial. As it stands now, only private companies can provide broadband services. Opting out of the law could mean public-private partnerships, not just a completely-city-owned broadband service.

“Over the past few years, there has been an increasing number of companies that are looking to partner with local governments to build and operate broadband networks that will compete with the incumbent provider and/or provide new or better service in previously hard to reach areas,” the memo said.

Several other cities across the state have opted out and utilized partnerships for broadband services. In April, six municipalities approved ballot measures opting out of the law: Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons and Severance. Larger cities, such as Fort Collins where it was reported earlier this year the city now has enough money to fund its own broadband service.

If the ballot measure is not improved in Aurora, it will not allow the city to wade into broadband services.