Fort Collins, Colo., voters rebuked Comcast and CenturyLink on Election Day, approving a ballot question enabling the city to build its own high-speed broadband network even as anti-broadband opponents poured more than $450,000 into the campaign to defeat it.
Fort Collins Citizens Broadband Committee officials said they spent only about $15,000 to rally voters behind their cause. The vote in Tuesday's referendum was 21,641 to 16,228, with the ballot question approved 57 percent to 43 percent, Colorado election results showed.
"To win against one of the most politically powerful telecom companies in the world, just amazing," said Glen Akins, a committee leader. "There is real discontent with the status quo, and that is directed at both Comcast and CenturyLink."
Municipal broadband activists maintained that a city-owned broadband network could offer faster internet speeds at half the price of Comcast's service. The municipal network could cost about $150 million.
The Fort Collins voters' rebuke to Comcast was all the more remarkable because the Philadelphia cable giant recently opened a 600-employee customer call center there. But voters seemed to be turned off by television advertisements and mailers and the deluge of outside money into the anti-broadband campaign, Akins and another local official said.