Colorado nabs $100 million for rural broadband

Colorado’s congressional delegation today joined U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in announcing more than $100 million in grant funding for the Longmont-based Centennial Board of Cooperative Education Services.

This $100.6 million grant, with an additional $34.7 million in matching contributions, will allow Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services to offer affordable broadband service in rural and under-served school districts in Colorado. The project plans to improve broadband access for as many as 230 community institutions. As many as 3.8 million people stand to benefit, as well as 50,000 businesses.

“As representatives of Colorado’s congressional delegation, we are well aware of the inconsistent, and in some cases, completely non-existent high speed broadband services for some of our most vulnerable communities,” the lawmakers wrote in their grant application. “EAGLE-net will serve as the non-profit network to community anchor institutions throughout the state, including 178 K-12 school districts serving over 2,000 schools and 800,000 students, 16 community colleges, 26 libraries, 12 BOCES, two institutions of higher education, public safety and health care providers, as well as city and county governments.”

“This is incredible news for Colorado schools, families, and our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey. “By focusing on a non-profit model and by bringing in the experience of the private sector, this funding will help truly bridge the middle mile of the digital divide which impacts so many communities across Colorado.”

“These resources will help rural communities all across Colorado bridge the digital divide,” said Sen. Michael Bennet in a press release. “Hundreds of communities that have lacked reliable or any high-speed Internet will now be connected to new opportunities online. Expanding access to broadband in Colorado will connect students with new opportunities to learn, workers with new skills and small businesses with new markets and customers that will help them grow and create jobs.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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