These are the public comments I made to Loveland City Council on February 6 before the vote on the first reading of four ordinances concerning the building of a municipal broadband network in their city. Click through to read my comments.
Hi, I’m Glen Akins. I’m a spy from Fort Collins.
For 20 years, I designed the equipment that Comcast and Charter use to deliver television and Internet access to your home or business. I have 20 patents and currently design chips used in Wi-Fi access points.
I’m here because the decisions this council makes tonight will affect not just the economic vitality of Loveland but of the entire northern Colorado region for decades to come.
The marketplace for Internet access in our region is broken. Residents have no choices other than the two incumbents. These two incumbents have had two decades to connect all of Loveland, and indeed our region, with fast, affordable, ubiquitous, and reliable broadband connectivity. We’re here tonight because those incumbents have failed. Residents have relunctantly stuck with them only because they have no other choice.
I’m a strong believer in the power of municipal broadband to disrupt broken markets. I know several of the council members here tonight are very pro free market. I hope they recognize that the market for Internet access in their city is broken and, that since that market is broken, I hope they will have the flexibility to do something about it regardless of their ideology.
Also, the incumbents’ interests are not aligned with the interests of our communities and thus they lack the motivation to invest locally. But do you know whose interests are aligned with Loveland? Those of your regional partners, including Longmont, Fort Collins, and Estes Park, who are investing locally and are moving forward with better connectivity for their communities.
Lovelanders aren’t that different from Fort Collins and Longmont citizens. They want what’s best for their communities. This is not a case of government doing something to the citizens. This is case of citizens and businesses asking government to do something on their behalf to make their lives and their entire community better.
I’ve worked alongside your residents for two years now to help where I can. I’ve spent the last six months countering fear, uncertainty, doubt, and misinformation spread by the incumbents. Somewhere along the line telecom policy became a serious hobby.
I firmly believe the path forward for Loveland, like in Longmont and Fort Collins, is a network owned and operated by the city.
Thank you. Have a good night.