Berthoud explores broadband options through a survey for residents
Internet availability and speed were at the forefront of many people’s minds during the pandemic. Between online schooling and working from home what used to be a minor inconvenience became a much greater concern. Berthoud, Johnstown, Mead and Milliken are exploring the possibility of a regional high-speed internet opportunity to provide their businesses and residents with fast and reliable Broadband service.
Questions of internet access – and reliability – have become even more important these days right along with access to water and electricity. Toward finding options this group of communities is exploring the possibility of regional Broadband service.
Berthoud residents voted to opt out of Senate Bill 152 during the November 2020 municipal election, meaning the town could begin to explore and have the flexibility in expanding, enhancing, or creating new broadband services for residents and local businesses.
Opting out of Senate Bill 152 (which limits a local government’s authority to provide, or participate in the provision of, advanced services, telecommunication services, cable television services, and/or broadband services) was just the first step in the town being able to consider municipal (or regional) broadband and was no guarantee that Berthoud would pursue the option.
Right now, according to a press release from the town of Johnstown, the communities in consideration are in the process of hiring a contractor to conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study. A study like this is important, according to the release, so that town administration and the town councils can decide if municipal broadband has value for the towns or if a public or public-private partnership is better for broadband services in the area.
The towns have opted to offer a survey to residents to discover if there is interest in continuing this process and if so what type of service is feasible for the community. The Towns of Berthoud, Johnstown, Mead and Milliken are asking their respective residents to complete the survey so that they can gauge the level of interest.
Information about the effort on the Town of Berthoud’s website says, “This survey is an opportunity to share your experience, needs and issues with your current high-speed internet service at your business and/or home.”
Based on each town’s population relative to the total potential population that would be served by the study, Johnstown has agreed to contribute 41 percent of the cost. Milliken has committed to 22 percent, and Berthoud will kick in 24 percent while Mead will contribute 13 percent. The actual cost of the study will not be known until the bid is awarded.
After the research conducted through the RFP is available, there will still be many considerations and decisions for the towns to make prior to finalizing any plans.
To participate in the survey, visit https://bit.ly/bjmmbroadbandsurvey.
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