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NextLight, Longmont’s giga-fiber internet service, has been such a wonderful asset to the community. I recently had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the taping of Tim Water’s “The Backstory on Nextlight,” and I would encourage you to watch it yourself. The story of NextLight is more than interesting, it is inspiring. In an industry dominated by large corporate actors who often leave consumers and businesses with few choices and rotten service, I feel proud to be a resident of a city that established its own footprint in the digital landscape. The focus of NextLight on accessibility of reliable and fast internet service to all residents of Longmont serves as a model for any other municipality looking to build out its own network.
As the original bonds are paid off, NextLight will have excess cash to reinvest into the community. It was surprising to see Valerie Dodd, NextLight’s Executive Director, ponder out loud where that excess revenue should go, when there seems to be an obvious place for it: providing subsidized or free internet services for non-profit organizations in Longmont. Beyond the obvious budget savings for organizations often dependent on seasonal donations, free internet service would accelerate productivity and open up opportunities for greater connections with the communities these organizations serve.
My hope is that NextLight sees the value in such a strategy and demonstrates to Longmont it has the community’s best interests at heart.