Letter to the Editor: Support for ballot issue for broadband

Dear Editor:
Rio Blanco County voters are strongly encouraged to support ballot issue 1A on the mail-in ballot for the Nov. 4 election.

Ballot issue 1A is critical to the development of high-speed digital telecommunications technology that will be implemented throughout Rio Blanco County.
This measure does not increase taxes or impose fees on taxpayers. The ballot issue would permit the county commissioners to pursue development of broadband technology, which would otherwise be prohibited by an outdated Colorado state statute (2005 Senate Bill 152) that reserves this right only to private enterprise providers unless the voters exempt their government from that law, and it permits their local government to provide such services.
Many other Colorado rural communities have voted to implement this exemption already.
Unfortunately, private enterprise broadband providers are not able to realize sufficient return on their investment to provide the extensive infrastructure required to offer comprehensive broadband technology and infrastructure in sparsely populated rural areas such as Rio Blanco County.
Rio Blanco County has initiated an avant garde innovative approach to combine government and private enterprise resource providers to jointly offer such services. This effort offers a collaborative, coordinated and financially viable plan that allows contribution of combined resources necessary to develop comprehensive delivery of broadband services to all Rio Blanco County residents and organizations.
The economic development potential of this effort will be astronomical and may permit the extensive attraction and development of businesses, heritage and agri-tourism, advanced educational programs in the schools, coordination and consultation in medical health care provider services and an overall dramatic increase in the quality of life for all Rio Blanco County residents.
A major advantage will be reduced cost for bundled services provided by fiber optic cable or RF distributed antenna systems where telephone, television, internet and other high-speed data services can be delivered through one service provider at much lower cost than the current services usually provided by three or more private enterprise providers.
Broadband must be “abundant, redundant and affordable” for all consumers.
A video titled “The Future of Work” suggests that in the very near future, the whole structure of private enterprise and government will change dramatically where individuals will not work directly for corporations and organizations, but will evolve into private contractors and provide their services and expertise to specific projects and developments to a variety of consumers. They will work from their homes or just about any location throughout the world since they can be connected universally by broadband from virtually anywhere that has such services.
This evolutionary analysis has huge implications for the way education needs to be reshaped to prepare students for the virtual world of future employment. Traditional careers as we know them will evolve into a wholly different collaborative process. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JNzAmWG2Fs
Moreover, the impact on robust broadband networks and service access become of paramount importance to support the future shock effect of this evolution or renaissance in the way commerce and economies will be structured.
Also see a message from University of Colorado President Bruce Benson on the purpose of higher education. Benson suggests that students are best prepared by a liberal arts education, which exposes them to many disciplines to give them versatility and expertise in a variety of applications they may be called upon to provide in the future. For “Learning How to Learn,” see: www.cusys.edu/presnews/2014/10/#.VDf7Ofk7v0s
This collaborative broadband effort is being studied by other Colorado counties and is considered a unique and highly effective model to finally provide much needed broadband telecommunications services to all county residents regardless of their location.
Your support and vote will be appreciated by all RBC residents for the future of our county.
Robert D. Amick
Broadband advocate