Publicly Owned Fiber Optic Internet
Bellingham and Whatcom County are hurting. Like many other cities/towns nationwide we have high unemployment, low wages, and a host of economic, social and environmental problems. This inexpensive solution would help us address all of them, and maintain net-neutrality by creating a public, net-neutral option. In fact, over 450 other cities have already implemented solutions like this, but our leaders are reluctant to even give our citizens access to the resources they've already paid for, much less prepare our city for the future.
As other cities/towns embrace high-speed fiber broadband, Bellingham and Whatcom County are getting left far behind. Our area has underutilized public fiber resources and several net-neutral local Internet Service Providers eager to deploy high speed broadband, like they have in Mount Vernon, Anacortes, Leavenworth, and many other places, yet this is held back by rules and regulations that have not kept pace with technology.
Create an opportunity for a public access component to make ultra high-speed internet broadly accessible in public spaces, provide higher quality low-income connections to those in need, and guarantee a level of internet access to all.
Give Bellingham/Whatcom County a strong standing among Washington cities, and create valuable infrastructure that we could continue to build on in the long-term.
Create jobs: Fiber would draw companies to our area, provide jobs for construction and maintenance, create new internet service providers and other innovative businesses that are made possible by ultra-fast broadband.
Reduce Our Impact on the Environment: Fiber would reduce the need for travel to take place for meetings. It is also very durable and usually requires less maintenance than old infrastructure wiring, like copper wiring. It is also the most energy-efficient form of communication.
Increase property values: Wiring for fiber-optics has been shown to increase property value approximately 1%
Provide a network our government could leverage to deliver data from current and future ‘smart grid’ sensors including those used for parking management, resource monitoring, air quality, muni and other needs. Over the long term smarter management could save us money and increase our tax base without increasing taxes by reducing unemployment and creating good jobs.
This petition asks for our leaders to give the public access to the broadband resources we've already paid for, expand our critical publicly owned broadband infrastructure, establish a Dig Once Policy for Bellingham and Whatcom County, allow multiple providers into multi-unit dwellings, and provide high-quality internet access to all residents that truly address our Digital Divide issues.