Colorado State Senator - District 6

 

Don in the News

Note to my constituents
January 27, 2018


We are now into the third week of the 2018 legislative session and things are beginning to move fast. To start the year off we successfully passed a bill that continues an interstate compact allowing nurses from neighboring states to practice in Colorado. Being surrounded by three other states you can imagine how this is needed to ensure health care providers have access to professionals who can properly serve you. While a successful bill, and the first fast early bill I have seen in seven years of being in the General Assembly, I want to talk to my constituents today about a bill that is encountering some opposition. I have been fighting for improvements to rural broadband in Colorado since 2013 and this year I am proud to co-sponsor “SB 18-02: Financing Rural Broadband Deployment.”


It seems unnecessary for me to explain to constituents in my district about how poor internet service can be in rural areas of Colorado. For a company to set up the infrastructure needed to reach people in rural areas requires high costs for low returns, a feat that most privately held companies do not want to embark on. This is why I am co-sponsoring of SB 18-02, a bill that will help provide much-needed funding for broadband in rural parts of Colorado. SB 18-02 has been met with praise from leadership on both sides of the aisle, Senate President Kevin Grantham, Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, and President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg have all shown support. In the House, Speaker of the House Cristina Duran and House Majority Leader KC Becker have also shown support and sponsored the bill. While many people have shown their understanding and support for the issue, we have been met with some opposition.


A similar bill trying to address the rural broadband issue was introduced in 2013 and was met by a lawsuit by CenturyLink. Public Utility Commission managed to come to a settlement that left limited funds for the expansion of broadband into rural areas. Similar to 2013, we have been met with opposition from CenturyLink on SB 18-02. CenturyLink has proposed a series of amendments to the bill that would change the geographical definition of underserved areas in Colorado and effectively eliminate the “rural” component of the bill. This is not the original purpose of the bill and would cause the bill to effectively fail the people it was intended for.

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