COVID-19 Broadband Resources and Updates


Colorado Broadband Office News
Updated March 26, 2020 at 12 p.m.

On this page you will find news, information, and resources to help communities stay connected during this challenging time. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

 

If you are looking for information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado, please visit the official Colorado COVID-19 website:

 

If you have concerns about your broadband access or capacity, please contact your current service provider.


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For General Public

Accessing Broadband/Internet Services

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many Coloradans are being asked to work and learn remotely. To support this many internet service providers have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and are offering free or discounted services. 

If you have questions about your service, please contact your service provider to ask if they have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and ask what service accommodations customers can expect in your community. 

If you do not currently have broadband service or would like to find a new provider, visit the Colorado Broadband Map to find providers in your area.

About the Keep Americans Connected Pledge (click to expand)

On March 13, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances. The Keep Americans Connected Pledge reads as follows:

Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges for the next 60 days to:

  1. not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  2. waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  3. open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

The FCC has established a web page for the initiative with up-to-date information and news about their efforts to support connectivity: https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected

Below is a list of Colorado providers who have signed the pledge or are providing other offerings to support customers at this time. 

Colorado companies that have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge (click to expand)

Updated March 23, 2020

This list is not guaranteed to be complete and is not an endorsement for the companies listed. If you are aware of other programs or offerings, please contact us at oit_broadband@state.co.us.

Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program that offers a monthly benefit of $9.25 towards phone or internet services for eligible subscribers, up to $34.25 for those living on Tribal/Native lands.

Read more about Lifeline (click to expand)

Eligible customers can qualify for the Lifeline benefit if their income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines, or if they participate in a Lifeline qualifying government program such as SNAP or Medicaid. Review the full list of qualifying factors.  Lifeline subscribers can apply their benefit to home or mobile phone service or high-speed broadband.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 30, the FCC Order waived a number of requirements for participating low-income consumers for 60 days, allowing Lifeline carriers to focus their efforts on assisting customers. Consumers may apply to the Lifeline Program online here or with a mailed-application. Lifeline’s customer support number is 800.234.9473, open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., 7 days a week. The support center can also be reached via email at LifelineSupport@usac.org. Review Lifeline’s consumer one-pagers for additional details on the application process and how consumers can manage their benefit:

How to Apply
Manage your Benefits

More information can be found on the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) consumer website, LifelineSupport.org 

Lifeline carriers in Colorado:

  • NE COLORADO CELLULAR, INC.
  • COMMNET WIRELESS, LLC – CO
  • I-WIRELESS, LLC – CO
  • VIRGIN MOBILE USA, LP – CO
  • TERRACOM INC. – CO
  • TAG MOBILE, LLC – CO
  • Q LINK WIRELESS, LLC – CO
  • BOOMERANG WIRELESS LLC – CO
  • TELRITE CORPORATION – CO
  • GLOBAL CONNECTION INC OF AMERICA – CO
  • TEMPO TELECOM, LLC – CO
  • SAGE TELECOM COMMUNICATIONS, LLC – CO
  • AMERICAN BROADBAND & TELECOMMUNICATIONS – CO
  • TRACFONE WIRELESS INC. – CO
  • SUNFLOWER TELEPHONE CO.,INC. – CO
  • BIJOU TEL COOPERATIVE ASSOC. INC
  • BLANCA TELEPHONE CO.
  • DELTA COUNTY TELE-COMM INC.
  • CENTURYTEL OF EAGLE, INC.
  • EASTERN SLOPE RURAL TEL ASSN INC
  • THE EL PASO COUNTY TEL CO
  • FARMERS TEL CO, INC. – COLORADO
  • HAXTUN TELEPHONE COMPANY
  • BIG SANDY TELECOM, INC.
  • NUCLA-NATURITA TEL. CO.
  • NUNN TEL. COMPANY
  • SOUTH PARK TEL.
  • PHILLIPS COUNTY TEL. CO.
  • PINE DRIVE TEL. CO.
  • PLAINS COOPERATIVE TEL. ASSOC. INC.
  • THE RYE TELEPHONE CO. INC.
  • COLUMBINE ACQ CORP DBA COLUMBINE TELECOM CO
  • STRASBURG TEL. CO.
  • CENTURYTEL OF COLORADO, INC.
  • WIGGINS TEL. ASSOC.
  • CenturyLink – CO

Resources:

Working from home for the first time?

How to optimize your home wifi network:

What to do when school is closed

How to access telehealth services

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For Schools

Resources:

For up-to-date resources for schools, please visit the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) COVID-19 Resources for Schools page.



Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Coronavirus page: Coronavirus (COVID-19) EdTech Guidance

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has compiled resources here: www.LearningKeepsGoing.org

State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) eLearning Coalition

School Safety Resource Center (CDPS): Remote Learning Precautions

News:

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For Healthcare Providers

Resources:

CARES Act: COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On March 27, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, appropriating $200 million for an FCC administered COVID-19 Telehealth Program. When adopted by the FCC, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will allow recipients to apply for funding for telecom and broadband connectivity as well as for devices necessary for providing telehealth services. Eligible applicants include non-profit hospitals, educational institutions providing healthcare instruction, several types of healthcare centers and others. No entity would be able to receive more than $1 million. To expedite the implementation of the programa there will be no matching fund requirement and a competitive bidding process will not be required. Preference will be given to applicants in areas hardest hit by COVID-19 and funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, with decisions made as applications are received. The availability of this funding will depend on several factors, including how soon the  FCC commissioners vote on the proposal, how soon the FCC Office of Management and Budget approves an application form and how soon the order can be published in the federal register.

Connected Care Pilot Program

On March 30, the FCC circulated an order containing the final rules for a newly created Connected Care Pilot Program. The Connected Care Pilot would provide up to $100M, over a three-year period  and would be a new program funded by the Universal Service Fund. It would provide funding for 85% of the eligible costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment and information services to provide connected care to a range of target groups such as those with high-risk pregnancies, opioid addiction, cancer, diabetes and other conditions that require treatment over time. Priority will be given to low-income and veteran patients. The availability of this funding will depend on several factors, including how soon the FCC commissioners vote on the proposal, how soon the FCC Office of Management and Budget approves an application form and how soon the order can be published in the federal register.


Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: COVID-19 State of Emergency Changes to Telemedicine Services

CMS.gov Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet

CMS.gov Telehealth Benefits in Medicare are a Lifeline for Patients During Coronavirus Outbreak

News:

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For First Responders

Priority Service for First Responders

Many first responders are experiencing busy signals and dropped calls in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a list of mobile providers that offer priority service for first responders with information to get priority access.

If you represent an agency needing priority access, please contact Ed Mills (720.737.1079,  ed.mills@state.co.us) for assistance getting connected with the correct representative.

Many of the priority access programs will require registration in the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and the Wireless Priority Service (WPS) programs. Find out more about requesting GETS and WPS.

FirstNet powered by AT&T (click to expand)

AT&T’s COVID-19 Response

About FirstNet powered by AT&T 

FirstNet Dedicated Support:  1.800.574.7000

Contact information for the Colorado representative for FirstNet:
Marcos Lucero
720.212.1672
ml7405@att.com

Verizon (click to expand)

About Verizon Wireless Broadband Priority 

To sign up for Verizon’s priority service, visit Verizon’s First Responder Benefits Program to check your eligibility. You may need your agency badge or ID to prove eligibility.

Verizon response to the coronavirus COVID19

Sprint (click to expand)

About Sprint Wireless Priority Service

Current Sprint customers will need to request WPS via the Department of Homeland Security. Instructions can be found here.

News:

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For Service Providers

Executive Order D 2020 017, Ordering Coloradans to Stay at Home, issued by Governor Polis on March 25, explicitly exempts “Critical Infrastructure” providers as qualified “Critical Businesses” as detailed in the Amended Public Health Order 20-24 (see page 6). Critical Infrastructure providers may continue to operate as normal. 

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Other News

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