Colorado broadband map

State broadband map, courtesy Colorado Broadband Office.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury approved Colorado’s plan to invest $170.8 million of federal funds to expand broadband infrastructure, bringing high-speed internet access to 18,000 households and businesses throughout the state. 

This investment comes two months after Colorado released an ambitious plan to close the state’s digital divide, connecting 99% of Colorado households to high-speed internet in the next five years. With this award, approximately 15% of Colorado locations that currently lack high-speed internet access will be connected, according to state estimates.

The $170.8 million will come from the $10-billion federal Capital Projects Fund created by the American Rescue Plan Act, funding government projects that enable work, education and health monitoring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic was a national teaching moment on how essential it is for there to be affordable, high-speed internet — not just in schools, not just in libraries — but in every single home and small business in the United States,” said Gene Sperling, American Rescue Plan coordinator and senior advisor to President Joe Biden. “If you did not have affordable and strong enough broadband (for remote work and school), you did not have access to full educational and economic opportunity.”

Colorado will add to 24 other states that have been approved to invest over $3.2 billion in expanding high-speed internet access through the Capital Projects Fund, reaching more than 765,000 locations.

On Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis joined Sperling and other White House officials in announcing the new broadband funding for Colorado — as well as $117 million for broadband funding in New Mexico that the state estimates will connect 40,611 households and businesses to high-speed internet.

"The $170.8 million for Colorado will really go a long way, and we are ready to hit the ground running,” Polis said. “I want to make sure that Coloradans, no matter where they live, can launch and operate a business, can learn, can get the healthcare they need. Whether you’re in Pueblo, Montrose, Sterling, Denver, Walden or anywhere in our state, you should have the ability to live and work and thrive.”

Colorado will distribute the $170.8 million through the Advance Colorado Broadband grant program — a competitive grant program for internet providers serving households, businesses, community anchor institutions and agricultural operations that lack access to reliable broadband. The grant program will prioritize projects that connect areas of the state with the lowest levels internet service.

The program is designed to bring locations with broadband that can’t meet 25/3 Mbps up to speeds of 100/100 Mbps. All internet providers funded by the program will receive a subsidy to lower internet costs for low-income families by up to $30 per month, through the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

The $170.8 million makes up 100% of the dollars designated for Colorado through the Capital Projects Fund. The funds must be spent before the end of 2026, federal officials said.

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