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Residents in Longmont, Colorado are preparing for a municipal referendum to utilize an existing fiber optic network.
The referendum is set for Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
At issue is how the city can use a ring of fiber-optic cables it built around the city in the late 90's as part of its electrical infrastructure. Much of the capacity on the ring remains unused but the city requires approval of the voters in a referendum before it can offer services to local businesses -- which will encourage economic development by creating more telecommunications choices in the community for businesses and residents (some background here).
This is referendum question 2A:
Ballot Question 2A: Without increasing taxes, shall the citizens of the City of Longmont, Colorado, re-establish their City's right to provide all services restricted since 2005 by Title 29, article 27 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, described as "advanced services," "telecommunications services" and "cable television services," including any new and improved high bandwidth services based on future technologies, utilizing community owned infrastructure including but not limited to the existing fiber optic network, either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners, to potential subscribers that may include telecommunications service providers, residential or commercial users within the City and the service area of the City's electric utility enterprise?
Big cable and telco operators have wasted no time in spreading fear and false information to scare voters into voting against using a valuable asset owned by the community. When the community organized a debate for the end of September, the only people willing to defend Comcast's position came from far outside the community to do it.
Trying to get in the mind of the big incumbents of Longmont, we developed this cartoon (the style is an homage to the "Get Your War On" comic).