PI editorial: Broadband issue deserves yes vote
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Ballot issues will always tout the benefits for the future. Why else should voters be asked to support an issue if there aren’t benefits involved?
The city of Glenwood Springs recently sent out ballots asking voters to vote “Yes” on a broadband initiative that could bring higher-capability fiber optics to the city in the future.
Of course, the rhetoric from the city claims that this will benefit us all in the future.
Funny thing about the future is that it’s difficult to predict. Just ask anyone who fills out a Final Four bracket.
One certainty is that the future of technology is constantly changing.
For that main reason, we have to agree with the city and ask voters to support the ballot issue concerning fiber optics.
One of the largest factors for Glenwood Springs voters to realize is that this vote will lead to another vote. That’s why it’s important to give a yes vote serious consideration. Without a yes vote now, there will be no vote later.
Voter approval on the first ballot issue will allow the city to provide fiber optic services to its residents.
If approved, the second vote, possibly coming in November, will then address the financial aspects of the broadband initiative. Voters will then decide if they want to support the final step in the broadband initiative.
We need to be clear. This first vote is not approving the city to enter into a $12-million debt to install the infrastructure. This vote is simply the state-required step to get to the second vote.
Obviously, voters need to know details about the second vote in order to make an educated decision this time.
City Manager Jeff Hecksel says the $12-million bond would be repaid by user fees over a 20-year period, and not by taxes.
There will always be risks attached with bonds of this magnitude; however, we feel that in the area of broadband and technology that user fees will be able to pay off the debt.
The advancements in technology are hitting us a warp speed. Just like at the beginning of the industrial revolution that changed everything from agriculture production to transportation to social patterns, today we are in the midst of a technological revolution, and few can dispute that technology continues to take over more aspects of our lives.
Is this broadband initiative going to provide service vastly superior to what we already have? And is it worth this large an investment? These are questions that voters will ask.
What we believe is that the investment is worth it, based mostly on how quickly technology is advancing. For Glenwood Springs to be ahead of the curve is a good thing.
We feel that it will benefit business, tourism and provide a better service to residents.
There will be a time when every household has multiple computers. Laptops are becoming common site, and the reality is that Internet access and computer availability will continue to increase, and so will the demand on broadband service. There simply must be a plan to meet the needs and demands of a continually advancing technological world.
For some the technological revolution isn’t today, but for so many others it is already front and center, and will continue to dictate our lives.
We encourage voters to cast a yes vote on the broadband initiative.
Technology is our future and we need to be prepared.
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