These are all of the Telecommunications and IT bills proposed in the 2018 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, pros, and cons are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium and Minor. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!).

House

Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

HB18-1312: Open Internet Customer Protections in Colorado PASSED HOUSE

MEDIUM

HB18-1099: Broadband Deployment Level Playing Field SIGNED
HB18-1128: Protections for Consumer Data Privacy PASSED HOUSE

MINOR

HB18-1116: Broadband Deployment Board Apply for Federal Funds PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

SB18-002: Financing Rural Broadband Development SIGNED

MEDIUM

MINOR

SB18-086: Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records PASSED SENATE
SB18-104: Federal Funds for Rural Broadband Deployment SIGNED

HB18-1099: Broadband Deployment Level Playing Field

State law currently allows incumbent telecommunications providers in an unserved area for broadband the right of first refusal for implementing broadband projects in the area if another telecommunications provider submits a proposal for grant funding from the state. This law adds the requirement that the incumbent provider must agree to provide Internet speeds equal to or faster than the other provider is proposing at equal to or less cost.

SIGNED

Pros

Just common sense. If we have to give the incumbent provider the right of refusal, we should ensure they are going to do just as good a job as the other bidder for the job. It’s how competition should work.

Cons

Bids aren’t reality and incumbent providers are favored because they already serve the area and understand it. This could open the door for inaccurate bids to crowd out the provider which knows what is doing and result in poorer service for the area.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1099

HB18-1116: Broadband Deployment Board Apply for Federal Funds

Authorizes the broadband deployment board to apply for federal funding of broadband deployment and allows the board to petition for a waiver from the FCC from rules prohibiting state agencies from applying for federal money from FCC phase II broadband auctions.

PASSED

Pros

New York successfully got a waiver, so we should try too. Broadband access remains tricky in some areas of the state. Only 77% of rural households in the state have access to broadband.

Cons

If you don't believe in the federal government spending money in this way, then as a state Colorado shouldn't be asking for this.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1116

HB18-1128: Protections for Consumer Data Privacy

Requires public and private entities in the state that maintain paper or electronic documents that contain personal information to develop and maintain a written policy for the destruction and proper disposal of these documents when they are no longer needed. Also requires reasonable security standards for keeping that information safe. Also puts more guidance into the notice required if there is a security breach: no less than 45 days after breach, must contain information that was potentially stolen, credit agency information, federal trade commission information, and cannot charge for the cost of the notification.

PASSED HOUSE

Pros

Hacks are a too common feature of our world, as is identity theft the “old-fashioned” way of rooting through garbage. This strengthens the requirements of businesses in Colorado to do their best and makes sure that if a breach happens, consumers are notified in a prompt manner with full information.

Cons

This is an unreasonable burden on small businesses, who now have to create and maintain written policies for all of their paper and electronic documents.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1128

HB18-1312: Open Internet Customer Protections in Colorado

Prohibits Internet providers from receiving money from the state’s high-cost implementation program if they violate net neutrality by blocking lawful content, engaging in paid prioritization, throttling content, or not providing transparency on its reasonable network practices.

PASSED HOUSE

Pros

Net neutrality may have died federally, but the state can use the tools at its disposal to protect Coloradans. It is a near inevitability that providers will look to make money from both consumers and Internet content providers through controlling the speed (or even availability at all) of content. Prior to net neutrality’s passage, this was already being done to Netflix. These providers may say that they never would do anything like this, but then why was the law a problem in the first place? It’s clear that the providers wanted to get rid of neutrality so they could engage in the very practices the law prohibited. Which can lead to higher prices for certain content for consumers. Especially in the monopoly that is Internet service providers.

Cons

In a free market, if a company does something consumers don’t like, they can leave. That’s exactly what should be allowed to happen here, not burdensome government regulation that forces companies to do business in the way that the government likes. That's not the American way.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1312

SB18-002: Financing Rural Broadband Development

Requires public utilities commission to allocate 20% of the high cost support mechanism funds that went to non-rural locations to broadband deployment in 2019 (this is the money that telecoms are required to send to the state to help fund telecom development in high cost areas, on your bill it is probably something like Universal Service Charge), then step up by an additional 20% every year until 2023 when it is 100%. BUT, rural telecommunications providers are guaranteed the same support they received in 2016. The total funds are capped at $25 million after 2023, but stay the same as in 2016 until then. It also tightens some of the requirements for broadband grants, which come out of this pool of money. It auto-repeals itself in 2024, subject to review at the time.

SIGNED

Pros

Only 77% of rural households in the state have access to broadband (handy map). This bill takes already existing funds that was going to areas that don’t really need them (non-rural) to boost development in areas that do. It explicitly protects rural areas from losing other telecom funding (for things like cell phone infrastructure development).

Cons

The bill’s terminology is vague. While unserved communities are defined for determining broadband funding, rural is never defined and the implementation of what is rural and what is not is left up to the state’s public utilities commission. This could lead to massive implementation problems and some communities losing funding undeservedly. Urban areas will also lose money under this plan and by 2023 will basically have zero dollars to invest in any new telecom technological advances that require capital investment.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-002

SB18-086: Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records

Requires the chief information security officer in the governor’s office as well as other individuals who are responsible for IT security to assess cyber risks to the state government from all state agencies, determine if distributed ledger technologies would protect agency data, and develop and maintain metrics to monitor each public data system.

PASSED SENATE

Pros

In 2017 the cyber threat to the state government included six to eight million attacks per day. Distributed ledger technologies may help the government keep its (and our) information safer by having no central repository for hackers to break into. The bill makes no requirements about actually using distributed ledger technologies if they do not prove feasible.

Cons

Distributed ledger technology has multiple flaws that make it unsuitable for government records. It tends toward end user experiences that are extremely cumbersome, it is much more expensive, and it makes it much more difficult to alter and or delete past transactions. It’s a technology that isn’t ready for prime time yet and we can’t spend tons of state money experimenting with it.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-086

SB18-104: Federal Funds for Rural Broadband Deployment

Authorizes the broadband deployment board to apply for federal funding of broadband deployment and allows the board to petition for a waiver from the FCC from rules prohibiting state agencies from applying for federal money from FCC phase II broadband auctions.

SIGNED

Pros

New York successfully got a waiver, so we should try too. Broadband access remains tricky in some areas of the state. Only 77% of rural households in the state have access to broadband.

Cons

If you don't believe in the federal government spending money in this way, then as a state Colorado shouldn't be asking for this.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-104