John Putt 76

Support the Clear Creek Broadband System

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Dear MMAR Members,

The Clear Creek Broadband Group (CCB) is attempting to build out a proprietary wireless broadband service for the residents of the Clear Creek County portion of Upper Bear Creek, Yankee Creek, Witter Gulch, and Echo Hills.

CCB contacted the Mountain Metro Association of REALTORS (MMAR) Board of Directors a few weeks ago after a Lakewood REALTOR® wrote a letter to Clear Creek County stating that the proposed radio tower in Echo Hills would decrease the local property values by 30%. We disagree. We believe the proposed radio tower will actually increase property values. The Lakewood REALTOR® did not mention the need for broadband service in this underserved area of Evergreen.

The proposed radio tower is very thin and is not unsightly like a cellular tower.

The Clear Creek County Commissioners are now reviewing the merits of the tower and the need for sufficient broadband service. Clear Creek Broadband has asked the REALTORS® of MMAR to please write a letter of support for this project if you are willing, or simply sign onto the petition below showing your agreement and support.

The Clear Creek County Planning Commission approved the rezoning for these towers Wednesday evening January 20th. There was a strong argument against the approval of the towers by a resident who rents a 40' tower on here property to RISE WIRELESS.

The Clear Creek County Commissioners must now approve the final rezoning of the towers. The BOCC will be reviewing this project on February 2nd at 8 am.

For the Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners hearing:

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://zoom.us/j/167562115

Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: 669 900 6833 or 346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 167 562 115

CCB asks that, if you are willing to write a letter, you include your experience with buyers who have voiced their concerns about the internet connectivity when considering the purchase of a home in the mountain neighborhoods. Also, please share your thoughts about whether a modest radio tower would devalue adjacent properties. Please mail your letters to:

Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners

405 Argentine Street

PO Box 2000

Georgetown, CO 80444

The MMAR Board wrote a letter in support of CCB recently, that you can join in supporting.

January 4, 2021

Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners

405 Argentine Street

PO Box 2000

Georgetown, CO 80444

Dear Board of County Commissioners,

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) as the largest professional trade association in the United States, advocates policy initiatives that promote and protect a dynamic U.S. real estate market fostering homeownership and investment opportunities for qualified purchasers of real property.

NAR’s Federal Agency Advocacy Agenda: 116th Congress states-

“Broadband; A new report from the FCC estimates that between 14 and 24 million American’s still lack access to broadband internet service. Moreover, several international rankings indicate that the U.S. is lagging behind other nations in broadband accessibility, speed and cost. Americans pay more and get less for broadband service than many countries across the globe. REALTORS support a comprehensive national policy to stimulate the deployment of broadband in underserved areas of the U.S., increase data speeds and lower broadband prices.”

In 2016, data showed 5.36% of Americans worked from home. The 2020 data shows that Americans working from home will exceed 20%.

How important the internet is to many of us now? Working from home is more popular than ever and even if you are not using it for business purposes, we are reliant on internet access for school (including primary and secondary education for our children) entertainment, shopping, online banking, government services, telemedicine and much more.

Last year UK’s ISP Review conducted a survey of its visitors which revealed some worrying numbers for anyone trying to sell, buy or rent a home in an area with poor broadband. Their research found that 71% of buyers would reject an “otherwise ideal home” if the available broadband did not meet minimum requirements, while 22% said they would attempt to negotiate a lower price. And 67% said the minimum acceptable speed was 50Mbps, significantly higher than the UK average of 28.9Mbps and the government target of 24Mbps for 95% of premises.

Can broadband affect the value of a home? At first glance it may seem faintly ridiculous statement, it is equivalent to asking if running water or having power affect the value of home. Because we have become more and more dependent on the internet for a whole host of services, it is becoming one of the first questions buyers ask when considering the purchase of a new home.

A comprehensive report carried out by the London School of Economics used 15 years of data to examine the impact broadband had on home prices. This showed that on average house price increased by 3% when broadband speeds doubled. A study from 2014 suggested that slow broadband could knock as much as 20% off the value of a home.

The local area Realtors® Association, the Mountain Metro Association of Realtors® (MMAR) has had so much discussion around the subject and has had so many inquiries and feedback around the need for a bigger study in our area, that we are convening a Broadband Taskforce to find ways to identify areas that lack high speed broadband (anything less than 10MBPS, 25MBPS, 50MBPS) and to improve broadband service in underserved areas of our mountain communities. Families are struggling to find safe places for their children to learn when they can’t follow a class from home due to slow DSL service. Additionally, the MMAR Representative on the Rules and Regulation Committee for the RE Colorado Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are putting forth rules changes for broadband signal strength to be notated on all homes listed for sale in the MLS. I believe once this happens, we will be able to identify locally the difference in price of a home with and without high-speed internet.

Currently, 34 million Americans do not have access to broadband. If you’re used to lightning-fast speeds and quick downloads, it may be impossible to even imagine living without broadband, but for more than 10 percent of Americans, it’s their daily reality. In rural areas, 39 percent of residents can’t get broadband, but in urban areas, that issue only affects 4 percent of people. Right now for example, I am personally not able to work from home, nor can my kids follow a Zoom class because our internet speed is typically right around 1MBPS.

The need for broadband service is a basic necessity if we want to have vital neighborhoods in Clear Creek County. The Mountain Metro Association of Realtors endorses the development of broadband as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Julia Purington, PE

Chair, Mountain Metro Association of Realtors®

Finally, MMAR is convening a Broadband Taskforce to help find solutions to the limited and non-existent broadband service areas in our mountain communities. If you are interested in being a member of the taskforce please contact Debbie Propeck.

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