Despite contributing to a huge dark money advantage for opponents of municipal broadband in Fort Collins, Colorado, Comcast came out on the losing end, with more than 57% of local voters coming out in favor of the city council setting up internet services.
In Seattle, however, Comcast-backed mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan, a muni broadband opponent, captured 61% of the vote, easily defeating pro-issue rival Cary Moon.
While not publicly commenting on its interest in the Fort Collins ballot initiative, Comcast conceded that it backed the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association, which contributed $175,000 to oppose the muni broadband plan.
According to a report issued by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative, Comcast stands to lose between $5.4 million and $22.8 million a year in revenue from having a city-run competing broadband service in Fort Collins.
All told, telecom-backed opponents spent around $451,000 on TV ads and various anti-muni broadband campaigning in Fort Collins, versus less than $10,000 for backers, according to campaign finance disclosures.
“I was very encouraged with the passage today, and particularly with the headwinds of incumbents trying to misinform the electorate,” said Mayor Wade Troxell to local paper The Coloradoan.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Durkan had earlier proclaimed that the Sleepless City couldn’t afford a “$700 million” municipal broadband project—an exaggerated cost figure from a study that said the project could also come in at as low as $480 million.
Comcast and CenturyLink each contributed $25,000 to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which supported Durkan’s campaign.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative estimates that Comcast could lose between $20 million and $84 million per year in revenue if Seattle were to launch a muni broadband service.