Why internet companies are freaking out about Fort Collins broadband measure

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- We all admit the internet is a necessity. However, should it be a public utility worthy of government operated broadband?

That is the question Fort Collins voters will decide on Tuesday.

Measure 2B would allow City Council to authorize a $150 million bond to build their own internet.

Residents could then get their internet through the city and not a private provider, like Comcast.

Comcast and the City would be in direct competition.

"It's no longer a luxury, it's a quality of life item," Colin Garfield, the organizer behind the campaign said.

"This is literally our one shot at doing this and if we don't get this passed we may never have this opportunity again," Garfield added.

The idea of government-run internet does not sit too well with the Colorado Cable and Telecom Association. In recent days they have contributed to $300,000 to fund TV commercials airing statewide.

A recent commercial by First Priorities Fort Collins tells residents that a $150 million bond should be spent on transportation, not internet.

But Ron Rizzuto, a professor of finance at the University of Denver, says people should be skeptical of approving this.

"You have rapidly changing technology," Rizzuto told FOX31 and Channel 2 Political Reporter Joe St. George.

"They may build something state of the art today but ten years from now it's not state of the art," Rizzuto added.

The $150 million bond measure would be paid back by people who use the internet service if it passes.

However if the infrastructure fails, all Fort Collins taxpayers would likely be on the hook in order to pay the bond back.

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