Fort Collins, like more than 100 communities in Colorado, had already opted out of the state law that requires a referendum prior to a city or county investing in an Internet network, even with a partner. But it went back to another referendum a few weeks ago to amend its city charter to create a telecommunications utility (though it has not yet decided whether it will partner or operate its own network). After years of sitting out referenda fights in Colorado, Comcast got back involved in a big way, spreading money across the Chamber of Commerce and an astroturf group to oppose the referendum. And just like in Scooby-Do, they would have gotten away with it… but for local grassroots organizing. We have a special second podcast this week because we didn't want to wait any longer than necessary to get this one out in the midst of frustration around the FCC bulldozing network neutrality. Glen Akins and and Colin Garfield were both campaign leads for the Fort Collins Citizens' Broadband Committee. They share important insights to organizing around broadband Internet access and a strategy for success against hard odds. They had very little experience organizing and were up against a cable industry willing to spend more than $450,000 to defeat them, setting a record in Fort Collins elections. For people who feel frustrated by the federal government handing Internet access regulation to the big monopolies, Glen and Colin offer hope and a roadmap for better Internet access. All of our Fort Collins covereage is here. This is a previous interview with the Mayor of Fort Collins. Read the transcript for this show here.This show is 27 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.Want to hear more from Glen and Colin? They recently spoke with Robert Bell from the Intelligent Community Forum on their podcast, The Passing of 2B – A conversation with Glen Akins and Colin Garfield of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Fort Collins is a thriving community of over 150,000 and the home of Colorado State University. Despite gorgeous vistas and many high tech jobs, Fort Collins basically has the same cable and DSL duopoly the majority of communities suffer from. But they are making plans for something better.
Mayor Wade Troxell joins us this week for episode 211 of the Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] podcast to talk about their situation and planning process.
We talk about their need for better access and how they are committed to taking action even if they are not quite sure yet what it will be. They exempted themselves from the Previously-Qwest-But-Now-CenturyLink-Protection-Act that requires a referendum for the local government to introduce telecommunications competition… with 83 percent support.
We end our discussion by talking again about undergrounding utility assets – which took them many decades but is very nearly complete.
Watch a video of Mayor Troxell at the Digital Northwest – where I was moderating a panel.
Read the transcript of this episode here.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
This show is 24 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed.
You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.
Thanks to Roller Genoa for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Safe and Warm in Hunter's Arms.”