DENVER - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the Colorado Broadband Office’s (CBO) plan to spend $171 million from the American Rescue Plan's Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) to connect more Colorado households to high-speed internet. The CPF grant will be used to connect 18,000 unserved households with reliable internet, fund fiber infrastructure projects to prepare for future internet needs, and support Colorado communities with the most urgent broadband needs. CPF and future federal broadband funding will be administered to subgrantee recipients through the Advance Colorado Broadband grant program in 2023.
“As we continue to save people money on reliable, affordable internet, we are thrilled that this exciting federal grant will bring money-savings to an estimated 18,000 locations across Colorado, including homes, businesses, agriculture, and more, building upon our work to bring high-speed internet to 99% of Coloradans in the next five years, ” said Gov. Polis. “Affordable and accessible broadband connects Coloradans and strengthens our economy, and we are grateful for the federal government’s partnership on this important work.”
The Department of the Treasury requires states to use CPF money for infrastructure projects that directly connect households to high-speed internet. Of approximately 3 million serviceable locations in Colorado, it’s estimated that 14%, or 360,000 locations, are unserved or underserved by federal standards meaning they do not have internet service with speeds of 25 MBPS download/3 MBPS upload.
“Many residents still have either no access or very poor access to the internet and are potentially missing out on opportunities for work, school, to run successful businesses or have access to the healthcare and government services they need to thrive,” said CBO Executive Director, Brandy Reitter. “This is the next big step in our plan to build broadband infrastructure across the state and help those residents in their communities.”
All CPF subgrantee recipients awarded funding through the Advance Colorado Broadband program will be required to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps eligible Colorado households afford the high-speed internet they need for work, school, and healthcare by providing a discount of up to $30 per month (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands).
To prepare and best understand Colorado's vast broadband landscape, the CBO has been engaging with Colorado’s unserved and underserved communities since February 2022 and will continue to do so over the next few years.