Colorado will connect the internet statewide

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There’s a plan to make sure everyone in Colorado has high-speed Internet access.

The state just received $500 million from the American Rescue Plan to make it happen.

The reality is that many of our neighbors in rural counties and even parts of Colorado Springs cannot access high-speed internet. For those who can, it can be expensive or unreliable.

The Advance Colorado Broadband Grant Program will help put an end to this.

Many of us take for granted how easy it is to connect to the Internet.
But there are large areas of Colorado with little or no internet access.

This map shows broadband service areas across the state. The Colorado Broadband Office, which worked with local internet service providers to collect this data, says anything blue and green on this map means availability is generally stable. Anything red means there is barely, if any, internet. This is mostly in rural areas.

The Advance Colorado Broadband grant program will change that. He got $500 million from the federal government to make sure everyone in the state, wherever they live, has access to fair and affordable internet.

Accessibility issues have been most difficult in some rural communities.

Brandy Reitter is the executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office. She tells us: “It’s very expensive for [internet service providers] make some of the necessary investments in our state to expand access”

But the program will help ISPs pay for the infrastructure to provide affordable Internet access to everyone.

“You know, it’s like building the bridge, and the [internet service providers] build local roads that connect to this bridge. So that’s probably the easiest way to explain it,” Reitter continues.

Besides rural communities, many people in cities do not have access to the Internet.

The El Paso Country Department of Social Services provides assistance to low-income clients through several different programs.

Kristina Iodice, public information officer for DHS, says:
“The internet is a utility, it’s something you need.
We know that for these families who have financial difficulties, to pay the rent, to pay for the food, to pay for the medicines, the Internet is a cost that can be a luxury”.

The CBO notes that any internet service provider who wants to take advantage of the funds must submit a letter of intent by July 18.

If you or someone you know needs help paying for broadband Internet services, you can get help through the affordable connectivity program.

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