In 2005, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 05-152, preventing local governments from entering into the broadband internet market and using tax money on fiber optic infrastructure. On the November ballot, voters will be able to “opt out” of SB05-152 by supporting the Denver Internet Initiative (DII). This ballot measure potentially lays the groundwork for the city to one day provide broadband internet access like they provide water to residents.
Currently, Colorado law limits ballot items to single-issue measures, so the DII can only undo the restraints placed on Denverites by the 2005 Colorado General Assembly. Passing the DII fulfills one of our four pillars, grassroots democracy, by allowing Denver citizens to make decisions about internet autonomy without being at the mercy of Comcast/Xfinity and/or CenturyLink. This measure also aligns with five out of ten of our key values of: decentralization, social justice and equal opportunity, community-based economics, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability.
In the era of COVID-19 and pandemics, as many students and workers pivot to attend classes or work from home, internet access and succeeding in the modern world goes hand-in-hand. In today’s job market, the vast majority of employment applications require internet access. The Denver Greens believe that every person is entitled to a job that pays a living wage, thus one’s success in the job market hinges on internet access. The success of an individual should not rely on their ability to pay corporate telecommunications monopolies.
Denver ought to follow in the footsteps of Chattanooga, TN, whose Electric Power Board installed fiber optic cable and started offering Internet at a speed of one gigabit per second, surpassing the speed offered by Comcast at the time of one hundred megabytes per second. Denver could potentially offer something similar or better to their citizens, but only if we collectively demand it. The Denver Greens implores Denverites to not settle for anything less than internet equality for your fellow residents if the DII passes.
Learn more about the Denver Internet Initiative here.