By a 3,982 in favor and 1,397 opposed, the voters in Montrose decided on April 1st to take back local authority for telecommunications services. The state revoked the community’s ability to establish a telecommunications utility in 2005.
Jim Branscome covered the election results in the Daily Yonder. Branscome, a resident of Montrose, knows the local broadband situation:
Internet service here is currently a hodgepodge. Some of us depend on broadcast towers, some on DSL from CenturyLink and some on cable service from Charter. Service is generally at less than 10MB. It’s expensive, and customer service is erratic.
Community leaders state that they want to encourage fair competition and ensure every one has the opportunity to fast, reliable, affordable connectivity.
In addition to ensuring that local businesses are in a position to compete with any large corporations that might attempt to establish a major share of the market, Turner said the city also wanted measures to enable lower income households to benefit from the advantages of gigabit speeds and capacity. “We don’t want to create two levels of society here, those who are connected and those who are not,” he said.
While Montrose is a long way from getting every person connected, the community is discussing the idea of financing a network with revenue bonds.
This election result demonstrates Montrose’s desire to be in control of their own connectivity. They understand the need to think of the future. From the Daily Yonder article:
It used to be that if a town wanted to prosper, it needed a river, then a railroad, then an Eisenhower Interstate highway, and then a cell phone tower. Today it needs to be a “gigabit city.”