A look inside municipal ballot measure 2A

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Municipal election ballot measure 2A, if passed, would authorize the city to provide high speed internet and cable television service, a reversal of Colorado Legislature Bill 152 that was put in place ten years ago to protect the government from competing with private cable providers.

Business Incubator Center Executive Director Jon Maraschin says fast and reliable internet is a must for successful business.

"If you don't have high speed internet it’s really hard to compete in the technology world we have right now,” said Maraschin.

The incubator spent upwards of 100-thousand dollars to bring a high optic fiber to their building, giving startup businesses a chance to use fast internet.

“Videographers, architects, people that actually have to upload big data sets are coming down here to access our broadband in a fast manner,” said Maraschin.

Many local businesses can't however, afford that price tag themselves.

"Even if you have fiber in the alley behind your building it still might be twenty thousand dollars to bring that into the building,” said Maraschin.

If measure 2A passes, the city would be able to partner with cable companies and, in turn, help businesses out with some of the costs of broadband installation and upgrades that the cable companies would not pay for itself.

"The city has access to grant funds that may not be otherwise available to the private sector,” said city council member Duncan McArthur.

McArthur says having high speed internet available to businesses is important for the growth of our city.

"It makes our city more attractive to new businesses that may move here that need the new high speed broadband,” he said.

Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce’s Diane Schwenke says reversing this bill doesn't mean that the city is going to go into the internet providing business, however.

"All it does is allow for some partnerships so that we can get to more affordable more high speed internet which is important for us,” said Schwenke. “Not just for entertainment value but from a business and commerce perspective and an economic development perspective.”

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