Voters in Montezuma County will see a question near the end of their ballots called issue 1A, and voters in the town of Dolores will see an additional issue: 2A.
These issues give voters the option to opt out of Colorado Senate Bill-152, which currently bans local governments from setting up broadband internet services. Supporters of a “yes” vote say opting out of the bill will make a difference in the county’s economic development for years to come.
SB-152 was passed by the Colorado State Legislature in 2005. 21 Colorado counties and 45 Colorado towns, including Mancos, have already done so, according to the government interest group Colorado Municipal League. The City of Cortez is not covered by the law, since it set up a municipal broadband service before it was passed.
To learn more about broadband and why voters should trust local governments to set up a broadband service in the first place, KSJD’s Austin Cope talked to Chelsea Jones, economic development specialist with the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association (MCEDA). She says broadband is so important it should be considered a “fourth utility.”