Over the last 18 months the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) has seen success and loss. The two greatest successes have been the passage of SB18-002 and rural access improvements. SB18-002 will provide $100 million to the Broadband Fund over five years. It will allow the state to close the rural broadband access gap and ensure Colorado’s continued global economic competitiveness. We can celebrate that as of October 2018, the percentage of rural households with access to broadband is 81%━a four point improvement from a year ago!
The most significant loss is that Brian Shepherd, the CBO Chief Operating Officer (COO), has left the state to pursue an opportunity in the private sector. Anyone who has met and interacted with Brian over his seven years in this role here knows his passion and dedication to solving the rural broadband divide and ensuring first responders have the communications infrastructure they need to do their job. We wish Brian all the best!
As we prepare for the gubernatorial transition, we are well positioned to continue the momentum gained over the last year, focusing on our three key programs: Broadband Development, Critical Communications, and Public Safety Technology. Now that we have a stable funding source, we will work with communities across the state to achieve the goal of 100% rural broadband coverage by 2022. Working in partnership with the Department of Transportation, there is a strategy in place to create a robust communications infrastructure to support the future needs of public safety, transportation, education, and healthcare. In support of our first responder community, we will continue to provide guidance on available technology as that world advances.
Anthony (Tony) Neal-Graves