In November 2021, voters approved passage of a measure that allows the Town of Windsor to partner with private businesses to provide affordable and high-speed Internet service throughout the entire community.
The 2021 Ballot Measure
The term broadband, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access.
Colorado Senate Bill 05-152 (SB 152) was a measure passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2005. SB 152 prohibits the use of municipal or county money for infrastructure to improve broadband service. Local governments are required to secure voter approval before entering into broadband partnerships or business. Without approval, the law limits the ability of Colorado local governments to provide a broad spectrum of services, including:
- free Internet service in community parks and centers;
- leveraging government infrastructure and partnering with private businesses to provide affordable and high-speed Internet service throughout the entire community;
- direct provision of broadband services by municipal governments where needed.
The Windsor Town Board identified broadband as a priority for further study in their 2016-18 Strategic Plan.
What did this ballot measure accomplish?
SB 152 required that an election occur before a local government may "engage in or offer to provide" the public with telecommunication services. The term "providing" was given a broad definition restricting both the direct and indirect service provisions. If Windsor voters had chosen no, nothing would change and SB152 will remain intact.
However, voters approved this ballot item, allowing the Town of Windsor is able to partner with public or private providers to leverage existing public infrastructure and grant funding to bring broadband service to the community.
What did the ballot item say?
Shall the Town of Windsor, without increasing taxes by this measure, be authorized to provide high-speed internet services and/or cable television services, including but not limited to any new and improved high bandwidth service(s) based on future technologies, to residents, businesses, schools, fire and rescue service providers, either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners as expressly permitted by title 29, article 27 of the Colorado Revised Statutes? Resolution No. 2021-53
Will this make the internet more reliable?
An SB 152 exemption restores the rights of local governmental entities to provide telecommunications services directly or indirectly. It does not require action or guarantee a particular outcome.