Grand Junction joins broadband initiative

Mayor Phyllis Norris
Mayor Phyllis Norris

The City of Grand Junction has joined  more than 90 cities across the country in an initiative to ensure the availability of fast and reliable Internet services.

Membership in Next Century Cities is part of efforts to explore options for improved broadband communications following passage of a ballot measure restoring local authority to provide high-speed Internet and cable television services.

“In this day and age, robust broadband is no longer a ‘nice to have’ — it is a ‘must have,’” said Grand Junction Mayor Phyllis Norris. “It has become an imperative for fostering and sustaining a healthy business environment and spurring economic development.”

Next Century Cities supports communities in their efforts to access fast, affordable and reliable Internet services. The initiative offers information about  gaining access to high-quality Internet services, pursuing partnerships between the public and private sectors and developing municipal networks.

“Becoming a Next Century City was the next logical step for the City of Grand Junction in our effort to build upon high-speed Internet for our community,” Norris said. “The resources New Century Cities brings to the table — including access to best practices, marketing materials and networking opportunities — made this an easy decision for us.”

Deb Socia, executive director of New Centuries Cities, welcomed Grand Junction. “We encourage all cities who are interested in recognizing the benefits of these investments to business, schools, government and more to join this initiative.”

In Colorado, Cortez and Montrose also have joined the initiative, as have Arvada, Centennial and Fort Collins.

In April, city voters in Grand Junction approved a referred ballot measure to override state legislation banning the city from directly or indirectly providing Internet and cable television services.

Members of the Grand Junction City Council said at that time there’s no intention for the city to provide broadband communications services, but needed authority to at least have conversations with businesses that do. City officials since have begun working with economic development and regional government groups as well as private sector partners to explore ways to increase bandwidth.