Colorado unveils first proposal to spend $826 million in broadband funds

Colorado’s big step toward making high-speed internet accessible to every corner of our beautiful state. Buckle up; it’s an $826.5 million journey!

In June, the federal government waved its magic wand and allocated a whopping $826.5 million to Colorado as part of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program. This fantastic program aims to sprinkle some broadband magic across all 50 states. Colorado isn’t missing out on this wizardry.

Now, let’s dive into the details! Just last week, the Colorado Broadband Office unveiled the first volume of the state’s grand plan for spending this treasure chest. But wait, there’s more! They’re inviting all of us to join the adventure by sharing our thoughts. You can submit your ideas until October 9th, so don’t miss your chance to be part of this epic tale. Additional volumes of the plan will be revealed in the coming months.

Why all this excitement? Well, as a spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis explained, this funding is transformational! It’s going to help us connect a whopping 99% of Colorado to high-speed broadband by 2027. Imagine no more buffering when streaming your favorite shows from the Rocky Mountains! But that’s not all.

The $826.5 million is going to work its magic by creating grant programs right here in Colorado. These grants will fund the deployment or upgrades of broadband networks in areas that desperately need them. Think of those places where the internet signal is as elusive as a jackalope. Once we’ve met our connectivity goals, any remaining funds will be used to ensure equity, access, and adoption of the program. It’s like spreading the magic far and wide!

Now, let’s talk numbers. The first volume of the proposal identified over 236,000 locations in Colorado that are still waiting for high-speed internet to knock on their virtual doors. Of these locations, 147,281 are considered “unserved” by current broadband systems. That means they’re in dire need of a connection. The other 88,820 are “underserved,” which means they need an upgrade to join the digital party.

But it’s not just homes that are waiting for this magical transformation. The proposal also listed 8,009 community “anchor institutions” that will be evaluated. These are places like schools, libraries, healthcare facilities, and public safety agencies. Basically, they’re the heart and soul of our communities. The ones who keep our towns thriving. They’ll also get a taste of the magic and be prioritized in the grant program.

So, when will we get the list of locations that are eligible for grant funding? Mark your calendars for January 8th! That’s when the magic wand will reveal the names of the places about to embark on the high-speed internet journey.

Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting. If a local government, nonprofit, or broadband service provider thinks the magic wand got it wrong and wants to challenge the state’s decision on eligibility, there’s a process for that. Challenges can be submitted within 30 days after the list is published. The broadband office will be like wise wizards, making final determinations by April 16th. It’s all about fairness and making sure the magic touches the right places.

But wait, there’s one more spell to cast! Colorado has until December 27th to submit its complete proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration for approval. Once that’s done, it’s like sending the magic spell to the highest authority to ensure everything is in order.

In the end, it’s a tale of bringing the magic of high-speed internet to every nook and cranny of Colorado. It’s about connecting our homes, empowering our communities, and unlocking new possibilities. With $826.5 million in the treasure chest, we’re well on our way to making this dream come true.

So, fellow Coloradans, get ready to see those buffering screens vanish into thin air. High-speed internet is coming to a mountain town near you, thanks to this incredible $826.5 million proposal. Let’s join hands and make sure everyone in our state enjoys the wonders of the digital world. This is our Colorado, and the magic of the internet is about to make it even more spectacular!

What is the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program?

The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program is a federal initiative aimed at expanding high-speed internet access across all 50 states, including Colorado. It allocates funds to improve broadband infrastructure

How will the $826.5 million be used in Colorado?

The funds will be used to administer grant programs, supporting the deployment or upgrades of broadband networks in areas without reliable high-speed internet. Remaining funds may be used for equity, access, and program adoption

How can I share my thoughts or ideas about this initiative?

You can participate by submitting public comments on the proposal until October 9th, as mentioned in the article. Engaging with your local representatives or organizations involved in broadband access can also be helpful.

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