Broadband Services Survey
Based on feedback from several residents and businesses, the City of Golden is looking into the potential deployment of gigabit broadband throughout the community. The City believes that affordable high quality broadband is a critical service for quality of life in Golden, as is the case with roads, water, sewer, and electricity.
Broadband is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as follows:
Broadband or high-speed Internet access allows users to access the Internet and Internet-related services at significantly higher speeds than those available through “dialup” services. Broadband speeds vary significantly depending on the technology and level of service ordered. Broadband services for residential consumers typically provide faster downstream speeds (from the Internet to your computer) than upstream speeds (from your computer to the Internet).
The City sees the deployment of gigabit broadband having numerous benefits to the community, and research has shown that high-speed, low-cost broadband is critical for success in the following areas:
- Economic development
- Organizational effectiveness
- Public safety
- Underserved citizenry
- Entrepreneurship – supporting the “Creative Class”
- Education and institutional partners
The first step in the deployment of gigabit broadband in the City of Golden was a vote by residents in November 2016, which passed and authorized the City to proceed to the evaluation stage. City staff has been working with a taskforce of experts from the community to complete a feasibility analysis. If City Council finds the results of the feasibility analysis favorable, then the City will begin the work needed to deploy this service throughout the city. The total project will likely take years not months, but the result will mean that the City of Golden adds its name to a small but growing list of gigabit communities throughout the country.
We have provided a list of answers to a few of the commonly asked questions below, however if you have a question that is not addressed below please feel free to contact staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does the City need to have an election to do this?
In 2005, the Colorado General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 05-152 (SB 152), which prohibits local governments such as the City of Golden from providing cable television services, telecommunication services, or high speed internet services (advanced services), either directly or indirectly, unless such services are authorized by the electorate. Senate Bill 152 has been interpreted by some as prohibiting local governments from providing a wide spectrum of services, including such things as internet service in city libraries, parks and community centers; leveraging government infrastructure and partnering with private businesses to provide affordable and high speed internet services throughout the community; and direct provision of broadband services by municipal government where needed. A voter approved exemption from SB 152 would restore local independence and the ability to evaluate all possibilities for next generation broadband services in the City of Golden.
When will the project be done?
Should the ballot measure pass, the City will begin the evaluation phase of the project in January 2017. This phase is expected to take up to 1 year, and if the results are favorable then City Council will decide on how to proceed. If the decision is made to proceed with implementation, staff will have to evaluate specific timing based on the selected deployment strategy.
What is broadband, or gigabit broadband?
Broadband is a term used to describe all forms of “high-speed” internet, however all that really means is internet speeds faster than the old “dialup” internet that we had in the 90’s. Today people’s expectation are higher and many communities are looking to the future of internet, gigabit broadband.
The term gigabit broadband is more concrete and refers to a minimum internet speed of 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) or 1,000 Mbps (Megabits per second). The average internet speed in Colorado is currently slightly over 7 Mbps. That means if you had gigabit internet at your house you could see internet speeds 142 times fast. If you happen to have the fastest speeds advertised in Golden currently (50 Mbps), you would still see speeds 20 times fast.
Have other cities in Colorado deployed gigabit broadband?
The City of Longmont offers its residents and businesses gigabit broadband for approximately $50 a month. In a recent national survey, the City of Longmont was recognized for having the 3rd fastest internet in the United States.
Can I stay with my current internet service provider if Golden offers gigabit broadband?
Yes. Should the City begin offering gigabit broadband, residents will continue to have the choice of who they want as their internet service provider. In other communities that have deployed municipal broadband, the increased competition has resulted in lower rate offerings among all providers, including the existing privet for-profit providers.