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Loveland City Council approves broadband utility

The Loveland City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution establishing a City-owned retail broadband utility with regional collaboration, and then acted to direct city staff to secure financing instruments to build and operate a broadband network. The 7-1 vote had Council members Richard Ball, Leah Johnson, Dave Clark, John Fogle, Steve Olson, Don Overcash and Kathi Wright supporting the measure, with Mayor Jacki Marsh opposed. Councilor Jeremy Jersvig abstained.

The resolution provides that the City will build, own and operate its own broadband network and will seek collaboration with regional partners such as Fort Collins and Longmont to share resources to save time and money. Ordinances pertaining to bond issuance, operating structure and governance will be prepared for review at future meetings. The bonding process will take 60 days following approval of the bond issuance ordinance and network construction is estimated to take three years to complete.

Councilors on Oct. 23 received updates on a series of measures they had approved Feb. 6 including the broadband business plan, financing package and results from an eight-month community education and outreach effort. They also received a unanimous recommendation from the Loveland Communications Advisory Board (LCAB), an advisory board on all issues and matters related to communications services, to move forward with the broadband project.

During the Oct. 23 meeting City Council voted 5-4 to refer the issue to voters in a special election. They also requested that City staff reevaluate key issues relating to the municipal broadband initiative in advance of the Nov. 6 meeting, including:

  • Issues related to competition between a government utility and the private sector.
  • Eventual use of surplus revenues.
  • Interaction of the Loveland broadband utility with neighboring municipal broadband utilities.
  • Steps to mitigate risk.
  • Best practices in delegation of authority.

Following a City staff presentation of these reevaluated issues Tuesday night, City Council members reconsidered their earlier action to refer the issue to voters, vacating it with a 7-2 vote. Council members then approved the resolution to move ahead with the retail broadband initiative.

The City has invested $2.75 million during the past four years to study the feasibility of its broadband initiative, identify potential business models to provide municipal broadband and to secure a build-ready design for the network.

Additional details and document archives are available at cityofloveland.org/Broadband, by email at broadband@cityofloveland.org or by telephone, 970-962-2010.