Loveland council reverses decision, moves ahead with broadband

LOVELAND — The Loveland City Council will not ask city voters to approve moving forward with a city-operated broadband Internet utility and instead will forge ahead with a plan to issue bonds and build the network.

The decision of the council Tuesday night was a reversal of a preliminary decision made Oct. 23 to refer the issue to the voters.

Tuesday’s decision adopted a resolution to establish a city-owned retail broadband utility with regional collaboration and directed 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 decision means that the city will operate its own broadband utility 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 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 to move forward with the project.

During the Oct. 23 meeting, the council voted 5-4 to refer the issue to voters in a special election. They also requested that staff reevaluate specific issues prior to Tuesday’s 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.

After hearing reports on those issues, the council reevaluated its earlier decision and decided to move ahead with the utility.

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 design for the network.

 

LOVELAND — The Loveland City Council will not ask city voters to approve moving forward with a city-operated broadband Internet utility and instead will forge ahead with a plan to issue bonds and build the network.

The decision of the council Tuesday night was a reversal of a preliminary decision made Oct. 23 to refer the issue to the voters.

Tuesday’s decision adopted a resolution to establish a city-owned retail broadband utility with regional collaboration and directed 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 decision means that the city will operate its own broadband utility 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 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 to move forward with the project.

During the Oct. 23 meeting, the council…