Broadband Advisory Workgroup

The Broadband Advisory Workgroup (“the Workgroup”) will advise the City on policy considerations regarding municipal broadband.

Purpose

In August 2020, the Bellingham City Council passed Resolution 2020-31 to create the Broadband Advisory Workgroup to develop recommendations to advise the City on policy considerations regarding municipal broadband. The Workgroup will:

  • Evaluate the possibility of municipally owned broadband infrastructure as one way to further the goals of greater availability, affordability, equitability and quality of broadband access across the community;
  • Address policy considerations and financial costs and benefits;
  • Assess existing conditions related to broadband access, equity and affordability as well as options and ways to use the City of Bellingham fiber optic network, as it exists today, or as may be expanded or improved, to enhance the access, equity and affordability of quality broadband; and
  • Report findings and recommendations to the City so that the City Council can hold public discussions on a broadband infrastructure policy.

Workgroup Member Requirements

The Bellingham City Council directed the Mayor to appoint a volunteer ad hoc Workgroup consisting of not less than 5 and not more than 9 community members and industry professionals comprised of the following:

  • General: At least 3 local residents with general backgrounds or experience with education, small business, manufacturing, organized labor, contractor associations, non-profit entities, and other interests representing diverse public interests.
  • Fiber Network Industry: At least 1 but not more than 3 individuals with professional technology experience and training in fiber optic networks, internet provider industry, fiber optic installation, telecommunication utility providers, information technology or similar fields. Individuals currently employed by telecommunications service providers, fiber optic installers or similar are encouraged to apply, provided that there is no direct benefit to a current employer or business interest.
  • Financial: At least 1 but not more than 3 individuals with professional experience and training in business, finance, economics, municipal operations or similar field.  Individuals in this area shall not represent the views of their employer.
  • In the event of a resignation or vacancy, the position will be filled by Mayoral appointment. Unexcused absences of more than 2 consecutive meetings shall be considered a resignation from the Workgroup. Substitutes or alternates shall not be allowed for any member.

Interested in Applying?

People interested in being considered for the Workgroup should apply by submitting a letter of interest along with the standard City Boards and Commissions application form. First review of applications will occur on September 18, 2020.

Workgroup members will be selected by Mayor Fleetwood and confirmed by the Bellingham City Council in October. Meetings are anticipated to be held monthly and will begin as soon as group members are appointed. It is anticipated that the Workgroup will meet through Fall 2021.

Resources

News Releases

Bellingham City Council Agenda Bills and Actions

  • August 24, 2020: Agenda Bill 22007 – Broadband Advisory Workgroup resolution
  • November 18, 2019: Agenda Bill 22007 – Community broadband update, draft RFP for business plan
  • December 10, 2018: Agenda Bill 22154 – Bid award for Roeder Avenue project; bid alternate for City conduit was not funded; Port of Bellingham bid alternate for conduit was funded by the Port. Bid Cost was $120/ft.
  • July 23, 2018: Agenda Bill 21937 – Dig Once Policy: Discussion on draft policy, cost estimate for conduit installation on Roeder Avenue, direction to secure bid for conduit on Roeder Avenue project
  • April 23, 2018: Agenda Bill 21937 – Dig Once Policy: Discussion on draft policy
  • November 13, 2017: Agenda Bill 21789 – Review of broadband initiatives by Chris Mitchell, Institute for Self Reliance
  • March 27, 2017: Agenda Bill 21560 – Status of Bellingham Public Fiber network

Additional Resources

Contacts

​Public Works Department
Eric Johnston, Director
2221 Pacific Street
Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: (360) 778-7700
Email: ecjohnston@cob.org

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