The City of Bellingham is recruiting members for a new advisory group established to study local internet access and affordability, including reviewing options for future use of the City’s fiber optic network.
“I encourage anyone interested in equitable, affordable internet access and business planning to consider applying to serve on this advisory group, including interested residents, people with fiber optic experience, and business and finance professionals,” Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “Our community will be best served by having a qualified work group to help us define the City’s role in community broadband services.”
The Bellingham City Council unanimously approved a resolution to create a Broadband Advisory Workgroup at its regular meeting on August 24. As outlined in the resolution, the workgroup will be comprised of community members, broadband and fiber optic industry professionals, and individuals with a business and financial backgrounds. While preference will be given to City residents, people residing outside the City are eligible to apply and may be considered as well.
People interested in being considered 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 advisory group will meet through Fall 2021.
The City Council tasked the work group to:
- 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 improve access, equity and affordability to quality broadband;
- Report findings and recommendations to the City for future public discussions on a broadband infrastructure policy.
For more information about the Broadband Advisory Group, contact Public Works Director Eric Johnston at email@example.com or (360) 778-7700.