NewsCovering Colorado

Actions

Colorado wants to increase broadband internet across the entire state

A $500 million grant will fund the Advance Colorado Broadband Program
Posted at 11:48 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 15:35:44-04

There's a plan to make sure everyone in Colorado has access to high-speed internet.

The state just received $500 million from the American Rescue Plan to make it happen.

The reality is so many of our neighbors in rural counties and even in parts of Colorado Springs can not get access to broadband internet. For those who can, it may be expensive or unreliable.

The Advance Colorado Broadband Grant Program will help put an end to that.

A lot of us take for granted just how easy it is to connect to the internet.
But there are large areas of Colorado with little to no internet access at all.

Information from the Colorado Broadband Office about broadband availability in the state of Colorado

This map shows broadband service areas across the state. The Colorado Broadband Office, which worked with local internet service providers to gather this data, says anything blue and green on this map means availability is mostly stable. Anything red means there's barely, if any, internet at all. It's mostly in rural areas.

The Advance Colorado Broadband Grant Program will change that. It got $500 million dollars from the Federal Government to make sure everyone across the state, no matter where they live, has access to equitable and affordable internet.

Accessibility problems have been hardest on some rural communities.

Brandy Reitter is the Executive Director of the Colorado Broadband Office. She tells us, "It is very cost-prohibitive for [internet service providers] to make some of the investments necessary in our state to expand access"

But the program is going to help internet providers pay for the infrastructure to give everyone affordable internet

"You know, it's like were building the bridge, and the [internet service providers] are building local roads that connect to that bridge. So that's probably the easiest way to explain it", continues Reitter.

Besides rural communities, there are plenty of people in cities who don't have internet access.

The Department of Human Services in El Paso Country provides assistance to lower-income clients through several different programs.

Kristina Iodice, the Public Information Officer for the DHS, says,
"The internet is a utility, it's something you need.
We know that for those families who are struggling financially, to pay for rent, to pay for food, to pay for medication, internet is a cost that may be a luxury".

The CBO notes that any internet service provider that might be partnered with the community who wants to take advantage of the funds should submit a letter of intent by July 18th.
This letter is not required but gives the state office an idea of potential grant proposals.

If you or someone you know needs help paying for broadband internet services you can get help through the affordable connectivity program.

_____

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.