Something Aspen residents can agree on — the flow of information

A year ago voters approved, by over 90 percent, a ballot measure that preserved for the city of Aspen the right to provide broadband services. Three weeks ago the FCC abandoned net-neutrality rules for the internet. The confluence of these events presents an opportunity for Aspen to pursue a smart-city initiative built on its own high-speed internet.

A number of cities worldwide have implemented smart-city concepts — high-speed broadband as a platform for information and communications technology to enhance the city’s livability, workability and sustainability. Aspen is positioned to incorporate an Internet of Things (IoT) as it already practices some aspects individually. As a logical component of a “smart-city” effort, Aspen would be a node — a “meet me center” in a regional broadband network (or, establish a stand-alone one).

The regional consortium, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, has a strategic plan to establish regional broadband, Project Thor. Aspen is a member of the council but is not involved in the broadband initiative. Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, as well as Pitkin County, are, however, actively involved. Aspen should be as well. See:

A significant amount of time is spent discussing “Aspen values.” I would suggest that no matter how one constructs the societal matrix of our city — business, recreation, growth, no-growth, young, old, resident, visitor, employed, retired, human, pet, road bike, mountain bike, etc., all would agree that the unfettered flow and exchange of information is vital to our city. The time has come for Aspen to implement two complimentary advances in technology, regional broadband as a platform for the integration of communications and technology into a smart city.

Neil B. Siegel