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19 Colorado cities vote in favor of city-run internet after Longmont victory

Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-10 17:00:11-05

LONGMONT, Colo. -- What started in Longmont has spread to Fort Collins, Vail and 17 other Colorado cities which all voted to take internet into their own hands this November.

"It really differentiates Longmont from other cities in Colorado, and that's one of the things we were looking to do when we did it," Tom Roiniotis, general manager of Longmont Power Communications said.

Roiniotis runs Longmont's Nextlight, Colorado's first city-owned high-speed broadband internet service.

"What does it say when you see that many Colorado cities voting in favor of city-owned internet," asked Denver7 reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

"I think what it says is that people aren't satisfied with the speed and the price of the service their getting from the incumbent providers," Roiniotis explained.

Voters in 19 other Colorado cities took their anger at big cable to the ballot box, overwhelmingly saying "no" to the ban on local government-run internet.

"Bringing real competition into internet service is gonna have a lot of benefits for all consumers," Roiniotis said.

Consumers have already seen that benefit in Longmont where they charge the average customer $50 a month for high-speed broadband internet.

"Not only are we offering the fastest speeds at the lowest price, but the competition has stepped their game up as well," explained Roiniotis.

In Longmont, the numbers tell Nextlight's success story.

It started with zero customers in 2014. Three years later, Roiniotis said they're serving nearly 17,000 customers.

"As the city grows, we grow with it so we never really stop building a network like this," he said.

Roiniotis believes other cities with city-run broadband will see cost savings, but what started in Longmont will take time to spread to other cities.

"People don't understand that, these are huge projects. You actually have to build and construct facilities that pass every yard in the city," said Roiniotis.