City appoints members to new broadband advisory group

New workgroup will study internet access and potential uses of City fiber network

February 02, 2021 - by Michelle Grandy, Public Works

The City of Bellingham has appointed nine members to 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.

The work group will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, February 2) via remote meeting platform. Instructions for accessing the meeting via Zoom posted on this page. Information about the workgroup, including an email address for questions related to the work group, agendas and minutes, is posted on the Broadband Advisory Work Group page.

The following workgroup members were selected by Mayor Seth Fleetwood from a group of 31 applicants and confirmed by the Bellingham City Council on January 11, 2021.

  • Maximillian Carper
  • Linda Fels
  • Don Gischer
  • Kristopher Keilor
  • Michelle Koptcha
  • Millisa Miller
  • Spencer Moore
  • Steven Spitzer
  • Russel (RB) Tewksbury

The Bellingham City Council unanimously approved a resolution to create a Broadband Advisory Workgroup at its regular meeting on August 24, 2020. As outlined in the resolution, the workgroup is comprised of community members, broadband and fiber optic industry professionals, and individuals with a business and financial backgrounds.

The City Council has 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.

Meetings are to be held monthly with the first meeting scheduled for February 2. It is anticipated that the advisory group will meet through Fall 2021 with their term officially expiring December 31, 2021.

Contact Information for the Broadband Advisory Workgroup:

Broadband Advisory Workgroup Public Works
104 W Magnolia Street, Federal Building
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: (360) 778-7900

Media Contact

Eric Johnston, Public Works Director
City of Bellingham or (360) 778-7700

Janice Keller, Communications Director
City of Bellingham Mayor’s Office or (360) 778-8100

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