Senate Bill 152 Primer

When someone mentions Senate Bill (SB) 152 in relation to telecommunications in Colorado they are referring to a law passed by the Colorado legislature in 2005. SB 152 can be viewed at:$FILE/152_enr.pdf. As Colorado law, SB 152 is codified in the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 29 concerning Local Government, in Article 27 concerning Competition in Utility and Entertainment Services, Parts 201, 202, 203, and 204, available at

The reason SB 152 remains news, twelve years after it was passed into law, is the ability of counties and cities to be exempted from its restrictions. To obtain an exemption, private citizens outside of government at the grass roots level bear the responsibility to write, fund, and approve a ballot issue. Councilman Ken Lucas, Centennial, indicates “The process requires a lot of educating of the public”.

The SB152 restrictions include that local governments may not provide subscribers cable television, telecommunications service, or advanced service, including high speed internet. Neither may local government purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate a facility to provide these services either directly or indirectly. The restrictions don’t preclude governmental use of these technologies.

To date, twenty-nine of sixty-four Colorado counties and sixty-six of two hundred, seventy Colorado municipalities have voted to opt-out of SB152 restrictions. The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) jumped on the bandwagon last year and initiated an effort to fund up to $20 million dollars to support local governments broadband plans. These funds are currently not available to well over half of Colorado counties and municipalities, still under the burden of SB 152. A map of Colorado jurisdictions exempt from SB 152 is attached, courtesy of Eric Bergman, Policy Director, Colorado Counties, Inc.

Local exemption is also available if 1.) no private provider operates these services within the boundaries of jurisdiction, 2.) the local government has requested the local incumbent provide the service(s), and 3). the incumbent provider doesn’t agree to provide the service within sixty days of a request or commence the service within fourteen months of the request, if it agreed to the request.

In 2016, SB136 was introduced in attempt to modify SB152. Ken Fellman, Kissinger and Fellman confirmed that, “SB136 died in committee last year”. A new 2017 Senate Bill (17-042) was introduced, January 11, 2017, that would entirely repeal SB152. Senate Bill 42 was sent to the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee for consideration. To view a copy of the bill, see A committee hearing is expected on SB17-042 in February.

John Rowe
COWA Regulatory Liaison
January 24, 2017

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