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City of Fort Collins Ballot Question 2B City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No. 1 Broadband

KEY PROVISIONS:This measure gives Council permission to• Pursue a retail or-third party business model to provide high speed fiber optic broadband services to the City and its Growth Management Area after the election. • Issue securities and other debt not to exceed $150M • Add broadband services to the City's electric utility or create a new telecommunication utility. It does not require the City to provide municipal broadband Establishes a governance structure to: • Permit the City Council to go into executive session to discuss matters related to broadband competition in the market • Allow Council to delegate power to a board and/or commission, except when it comes to issuing new debt. • Delegate ability to City Manager to set or change rates if necessary. For more information, click on the following link:http://www.fcgov.com/broadband/For the Fort Collins Broadband Business Plan, click on the following link:https://www.fcgov.com/broadband/pdf/7.27.17%20Broadband%20Business%20Plan.pdfBACKGROUND:In 2015, voters gave the City the OK to explore options to provide high speed internet, telecommunication and cable services, directly or indirectly. Since that time the city has researched the extent of the local need for high-speed broadband, the success and failure of city-owned utilities across the country, and several options for high-speed broadband services, including both a retail model and a third-party alternative. In the retail model, the City builds out the infrastructure, known as Fiber to the Premise (FTTP), and operates as an internet service provider (ISP). The third-party alternative would involve a public private partnership (P3) with an ISP. If the ballot measure passes, it will take 3 to 5 years to build out the new network and start offering the services. Subscription will be voluntary. BALLOT LANGUAGE:SHALL ARTICLE XII OF THE CITY OF FORT COLLINS CHARTER BE AMENDED TO ALLOW, BUT NOT REQUIRE, CITY COUNCIL TO AUTHORIZE, BY ORDINANCE AND WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE ELECTORS, THE CITY’S ELECTRIC UTILITY OR A SEPARATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES, INCLUDING THE TRANSMISSION OF VOICE, DATA, GRAPHICS AND VIDEO USING BROADBAND INTERNET FACILITIES, TO CUSTOMERS WITHIN AND OUTSIDE FORT COLLINS, WHETHER DIRECTLY OR IN WHOLE OR PART THROUGH ONE OR MORE THIRD-PARTY PROVIDERS, AND IN EXERCISING THIS AUTHORITY, TO: (1) ISSUE SECURITIES AND OTHER DEBT, BUT IN A TOTAL AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $150,000,000; (2) SET THE CUSTOMER CHARGES FOR THESE FACILITIES AND SERVICES SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IN THE CHARTER REQUIRED FOR SETTING THE CUSTOMER CHARGES OF OTHER CITY UTILITIES; (3) GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER MATTERS PERTAINING TO ISSUES OF COMPETITION IN PROVIDING THESE FACILITIES AND SERVICES; (4) ESTABLISH AND DELEGATE TO A COUNCIL-APPOINTED BOARD OR COMMISSION SOME OR ALL OF THE COUNCIL’S GOVERNING AUTHORITY AND POWERS GRANTED IN THIS CHARTER AMENDMENT, BUT NOT THE POWER TO ISSUE SECURITIES AND OTHER DEBT; AND (5) DELEGATE TO THE CITY MANAGER SOME OR ALL OF COUNCIL’S AUTHORITY TO SET CUSTOMER CHARGES FOR TELECOMMUNICATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES?
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

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Arguments

THOSE IN FAVOR SAY:

• This ballot issue will authorize the City to move towards ensuring that all residents have access to affordable high-speed broadband, a service of increasing importance to businesses, education, and others.

• These are services that current providers have been reluctant to provide at a city-wide, affordable level.

• Many communities across the country have been very successful engaging in these services, including Longmont, Colorado, which serves as a model for planning and operation.
THOSE OPPOSED SAY:

• Local governments should not compete with private businesses that provide internet services.

• Technology is changing so fast that the city could find itself in debt for a service that becomes outdated quickly.

• Fort Collins City Government does not have the expertise to plan and run such a utility.

• If the program fails, all taxpayers will be responsible for the debt.

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