Town of Avon, Eagle County, other municipalities asking for more broadband freedom | VailDaily.com

Town of Avon, Eagle County, other municipalities asking for more broadband freedom

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

AVON — Avon voters, along with those in Eagle, Gypsum, Minturn, Vail and unincorporated Eagle County, are being asked to consider ballot questions that would exempt their municipalities from a state law, which was passed as Colorado Senate Bill 05-152, restricting local governments from directly offering or entering into partnerships to provide next-generation broadband services in their communities.

With this exemption, the towns and county would be permitted to establish business partnerships with private companies to increase access to high-speed broadband internet, opt to provide this service themselves or develop a combined strategy to benefit residents and business users. Without such approval, the law limits the ability of these towns and the county to provide a wide spectrum of services, including:

• Free internet service in municipal buildings, parks and community centers

• High-speed internet service throughout the entire community, by leveraging government infrastructure and partnering with private business

• Direct provision of broadband services by municipal government

Voters in many Colorado towns, cities and counties have exempted themselves from Colorado Senate Bill 05-152, passing measures that affirm their local choice to decide how broadband services develop in these communities.

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"Broadband access is a treasured commodity and one that has become expected," Avon Mayor Jennie Fancher said. "The town's ability to provide internet and/or cable service ensures that everyone can continue to have access and expanded access at Town Hall, the Main Street Mall and on our buses; and the real possibility of developing high-speed opportunities for businesses and residential services. It is important to note that no increase in taxes is associated with approval of (the ballot question)."

This ballot question is on Eagle County's consolidated ballot. Ballots were mailed to all active registered voters in Eagle County on Monday, Oct. 16. Ballots must be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 7. For more information, call the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder's Office at 970-328-8715 or email elections@eaglecounty.us.