Reposted from the Washington Post:
Voters in seven cities and counties in Colorado voted Tuesday to free their local governments to offer Internet service. The votes marked a defeat for big, traditional Internet service providers such as Comcast that have successfully maneuvered to inject limits on municipal broadband into state regulations over the last decade. Now cities are figuring out ways to push back, including wiggling out from under laws the industry helped put in place.
In Boulder, locals voted on whether the city should be “authorized to provide high-speed Internet services (advanced services), telecommunications services, and/or cable television services to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, nonprofit entities and other users of such services.” As of late Tuesday night, the city of 100,000 people, which already owns miles of unused fiber, had approved the measure with 84 percent of the vote. Similar overrides also passed by large margins in the towns of Yuma, Wray, Cherry Hills Village and Red Cliff and in Rio Blanco and Yuma counties, according to KUNC, a public radio station in northern Colorado.
The local popularity of municipal broadband puts traditional Internet service providers in a tough spot. There’s a debate taking place on the national level over whether the federal government should step in to overturn laws like Colorado’s, which prohibit municipal broadband. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler recently signaled that he might be willing to do so.