The Colorado Broadband Office – Onward and Upward

Colorado Broadband Office Colorado Broadband Office, News

The Broadband Team was formed within the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) in 2012 with a staff of two and a directive to “fix the broadband problem.” Our initial mission was to work with and educate local leaders across the state and to develop grass roots support for creative broadband solutions. With the help of other state partners (Department of Local Affairs [DOLA], Office of Economic Development and International Trade [OEDIT], and Colorado Department of Transportation [CDOT]), we expanded our efforts to include the development of regional broadband plans, the DOLA middle mile grant program, the creation of the Broadband Fund (and Board), and the most recent milestone, the passage of Senate Bill 18-002, which provides additional funding for broadband deployment across the state. Along the way, we expanded the Team to support the FirstNet initiative and help public safety deal with the tsunami of technological change that is coming.

Tony Neal-Graves joined the team as the new Executive Director a little over a year ago, and in early 2018 the Broadband Team became the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO). With the accomplishment of some significant goals, we feel it’s time to restructure our efforts to address the next set of challenges and to help move our state forward. While the march towards universal broadband access continues, we must also begin to address the next challenge: ensuring connectivity for key sectors and institutional needs like public safety, education, transportation, and health care. The communications needs of these community foundations will continue to expand and place demands on the existing infrastructure and services in the state. These critical communications systems are converging at an increased rate, complicating the strategic planning and investment decisions for local, regional, and state leaders.

The CBO’s mission is simple and focuses on two things: partnerships and statewide solutions.

We are committed to enabling the development of a statewide digital communications infrastructure through public-private partnerships to meet the growing demand for broadband access in the key sectors of public safety, education, healthcare, transportation, and for all Coloradans.

To accomplish this mission, the Office will be organized into three programs with multiple initiatives within each program:

Broadband Development Program

The Broadband Development Program will focus on the traditional activities we have been involved with and that have been critical to the progress that has been made. That means our broadband mapping efforts, regional planning support, Kids Link Colorado and assisting with the coordination of funding will continue to be the focus of this program.


Critical Communications Program

As our newest initiative, the Critical Communications Program will initially focus on the effort to identify and encourage collaboration between all of the critical communications sectors (public safety, transportation, education, public health) within our state. Our first major initiative is to develop a statewide telecommunications infrastructure strategic plan so Colorado can prepare for the various communications demands over the next 20 years. This strategic plan will help facilitate the public-private partnerships necessary to encourage continued investment into our state. Additionally, we will begin to coordinate with local jurisdictions to promote Smart & Safe Cities technologies as part of the Smart State Initiative.


Public Safety Technology Program

Contrary to popular belief, the decision to opt-in to FirstNet wasn’t the end of the effort, rather just the beginning of transformative change. The Public Safety Technology Program will focus on supporting and advocating for Colorado’s first responders across all disciplines and levels of government to help them identify and integrate the wave of communications technologies that are being developed. As more and more wireless carriers and technology companies enter the public safety market, it is critical to ensure Colorado understands these trends and works collaboratively to ensure ongoing operability and interoperability.

The CBO team hasn’t changed; Megan, Kim, Ed, Sarah, Tony and Brian are expanding their roles in order to achieve our new goals. We look forward to working with you as we start these new endeavours.

As we look back on the past six years with a great amount of pride in our collective statewide accomplishments, we know there is still much work to be done. Our primary objective continues to be to act as a resource to all Colorado’s stakeholders to coordinate planning efforts statewide and to help solve your specific issues. As always, please feel free to reach out to any of the Team for additional information and/or to request us to come out for a face-to-face conversation.