In the most remote parts of Colorado, almost 2 out of every 5 homes lack access to basic broadband. This prevents children from maximizing their education, individuals from the ability to do business and cuts off families from participating in the global economy. The purpose of the Rural Broadband Initiative is to ensure that by the year 2020, broadband connectivity is no longer an issue for rural Colorado.
The Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) works to bring together public sector leaders with private sector solutions that fit the individual needs of communities, while ensuring the collaboration that ties together individual projects into regional and statewide solutions. The CBO coordinates and supports the planning and funding opportunities available within Colorado that will help us reach our goals.
Since 2009, we have been working throughout the state to focus on local leadership, regional collaboration and identifying funding for investment in rural broadband infrastructure. In 2012, we began working with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to encourage regions throughout the state to complete Strategic Broadband Plans to help local communities identify the gaps in their broadband service as well as potential solutions. The program has seen the completion of strategic broadband plans for all twelve rural regions and continues to work at the county and municipal levels as jurisdictions now look to identify specific solutions that fit within the regional plan.
In 2014, the Colorado General Assembly passed, and Governor Hickenlooper signed, a bill that created the Broadband Deployment Board and a Broadband Fund to provide money for investment in unserved areas of the state. The CBO acts as both a voice on the Board as well as staff support to help the Board identify areas of the state that are unserved, review applications for grant funding, and make awards for the projects which offer the best solutions.