I am Todd Barnes. I was president of the Colorado Communications and Utility Alliance (CCUA) for 6 years and just stepped down in January. As such, I wanted to introduce you to CLIC’s newest chapter, CLIC-Colorado. A little over six months ago, CCUA voted to become an official chapter of CLIC. This alliance between the CCUA and CLIC was a natural fit because both CLIC and CCUA believe that the internet is an essential element of every community’s infrastructure and that each local community is best at determining if its broadband services are sufficient to meet current and future needs.
This natural partnership will weave CLIC’s network further into our state-wide efforts. For many years, CLIC has worked in unison with CCUA to support its legislative agenda both at the state and federal levels. Along with our legal counsel, Ken Fellman, and the other members of CCUA’s Executive Committee, we have partnered with the Colorado Municipal League to educate Colorado elected officials about the intricate issues associated with broadband deployment and the challenges the industry has presented to local decision-making. Our partnership was most valuable during the last two legislative sessions in Colorado, when our organizations battled together to overcome a state law that prevents local governments from providing broadband services. While we have not yet repealed the law, our effort will likely continue because it is the natural outgrowth of a popular movement in Colorado communities to gain local internet choice. Over the last few years, more than 95 Colorado communities have voted in referendum to exempt themselves from the state law that prohibits them from providing broadband networks, with vote margins being far from close. An average of more than 75% of the voters declared that they wanted their community to have the right to choose.
In addition to broadband, CCUA, and now CLIC-Colorado, are big supporters of PEG operations and programming. I actually started my work with CCUA as a member of the video production committee. We started producing our own video program for members to use on their PEG channels. Today, CCUA produces its own video program called Connected Colorado. This commercial-quality production lets our communities showcase events, programs and people from their communities.