According to Ars Technica, the city council in Fort Collins, Colorado, voted to move forward with a municipal fiber broadband network that will provide gigabit speeds. This vote came after the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to eliminate the nation’s net neutrality rules late last year.
“We’re extremely pleased the entire city council voted to support the network after the voters’ hard fought election victory late last year,” Glen Akins, a resident who helped lead the pro-municipal broadband campaign, told Ars Technica. “The municipal broadband network will make Fort Collins an even more incredible place to live.”
A new planning document states that this new network will “deliver a ‘net-neutral’ competitive unfettered data offering that does not impose caps or usage limits on one use of data over another (i.e., does not limit streaming or charge rates based on type of use,” and “All application providers (data, voice, video, cloud services) are equally able to provide their services, and consumers’ access to advanced data opens up the marketplace” Ars Technica reports.
What this means for decision makers:
Despite the barriers put up by the FCC’s vote to do away with Obama-era net neutrality rules, Ars Technica shows how small communities are taking into their own hands access to the internet. Not only is Fort Collins taking back control of its internet usage, it’s also applying current practices and safety policies to make sure this new network initiative is a success.
For example, Fort Collins will be developing policies to protect consumers’ privacy, and will provide a $1.8 million loan from its funding for the electric utility for first-year start-up costs related to building telecommunications facilities and services. The city will also charge consumers $70 per month or less, and a less expensive internet tier. While the network build will stretch on for years, its underground wiring for projected improved reliability and “universal coverage” will keep consumers happy. Decision makers who might be negatively affected by the FCC’s net neutrality vote might want to keep tabs on Fort Collins’ work, and be on the lookout for other cities doing the same thing. Maybe their business will move to community networks in the near future.