RBC I The Broadband Deployment Board within the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is now accepting applications for broadband infrastructure project grants that support the deployment of broadband internet service to unserved Coloradans in rural communities throughout the state.
Up to $2.4 million in grants is available in its first application cycle. Information and applications are now available online at www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/broadband-fund and must be submitted by June 30.
Grants provided by the Broadband Deployment Board are a key component of the state’s coordinated effort to expand broadband access to all Colorado citizens. According to the 2015 Federal Communications Commission report, Broadband Availability in America, 71-percent of Coloradans living in rural areas currently lack access to broadband internet compared to just 10-percent in urban areas.
“It is imperative that we do all that we can to improve access to adequate and reliable broadband that supports economic development and connects communities to critical services, especially in rural areas,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “These funds will help us to take an important step forward to achieving the goal.”
“The Broadband Deployment Board is working to close the connectivity gap between rural and urban Colorado communities by awarding these broadband infrastructure development grants throughout the state,” stated DORA Executive Director Joe Neguse. “Access to broadband internet service is vital for rural communities to help them expand key services like remote healthcare, increase access to education and foster business development.”
For example, broadband access expands healthcare service to rural communities through telehealth initiatives; provides students with the same quality of online education as their metro community peers; increases efficiencies for agriculture via the ability to monitor and analyze crop and water conditions in real time; and helps support local economies by providing rural businesses with the ability to sell products worldwide.
Applicants must provide broadband service in unserved areas, which is defined as having less than 25-megabits downstream and 3-megabits upstream.
The grant program is competitive, and funds awarded will go to applications that demonstrate cost effectiveness and provide substantial benefits to the local community.
Interested applicants may call 303-894-7752 with questions.