DENVER - Today, Governor Jared Polis signed the bipartisan Senate Bill 23-183 (SB23-183), removing the biggest barrier to providing all Coloradans with access to high-speed broadband and allowing the state to capitalize on upcoming federal broadband funding for capital projects and digital adoption programs.
SB23-183 revises a law established in 2005, SB05-152, which prohibited most uses of municipal or county money for infrastructure to improve local broadband service without obtaining voter approval to opt-out. SB23-183 gives local governments the authority to provide broadband service, either on their own or by partnering with industry service providers, without holding a local election.
“Today, the state took a big step in establishing a competitive economy for generations to come. SB23-183 removes the biggest obstacle to achieving the Governor’s goal to connect 99% of Colorado households by the end of 2027,” said Colorado Broadband Office Executive Director Brandy Reitter. “Each local government is in a unique position or different phase of connecting residents to high-speed internet, and this bill allows them to establish broadband plans that meet the needs of their communities.”
Local governments historically have not been directly involved in the delivery of telecommunication services. The increasing need for access to high-speed internet has forced many local government officials to reexamine their role in providing broadband services.
Over the next five years, Colorado will receive an impactful amount of federal broadband funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) Program and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program for infrastructure expansion and improvement, as well as digital equity programs to address the state’s digital gap.