Thanks to federal funding to expand broadband across the state, thousands of rural Colorado residents could be one step closer to access to high-speed Internet. Thanks to the Broadband Equity Access and Development program, better known as BEAD, Colorado could potentially receive more than $800 million in federal aid to install broadband.
BEAD, which distributes more than $42 billion, will help rural Americans gain access to broadband Internet. By expanding access to these online services, rural Colorado residents will be able to more easily access the same high-quality Internet that their urban counterparts already have.
Coloradans like Michael Royals are among the many who need broadband. The Royals live about half an hour northwest of Fort Collins in the foothills of Larimer County.
CONNECTED: Colorado officials say you can help expand broadband access
“[The internet here] is really bad quality,” Royals said. “It’s not about the number of providers, it’s about the lack of bandwidth.”
Colorado is already on track to spend $171 million on broadband expansion. With the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding, Royals said he hopes his community will be among the next to gain access.
“Broadband could be a game changer,” said Royals.
The Royals rely heavily on their internet connection for business, often using video chat platforms to do their jobs. However, with the internet he currently has to rely on, the only time he can guarantee he has enough bandwidth to work is around 5am.
“I’ve done project work in 50 different countries. I can count on cell and broadband in The Gambia, West Africa better than I can in LaPorte, Colorado,” Royal said.
Gov. Jared Polis and his office are asking the public to add their addresses to the FCC map they’ve created to help better understand where service disparities exist.
According to the governor’s office, there are many places on the map that they believe show the FCC as having broadband access when in fact they don’t. By updating the status of your property on the map, you could help provide additional funding to the state.
Royals said access to reliable Internet is becoming a basic need in today’s society, noting that many people rely on the Internet for education, telehealth and business.
“It will become, if it isn’t already, essential to living anywhere, whether it’s rural or urban,” Royals said. “It’s the right time to spread the wealth.”
Coloradans have until this Friday to complete their FCC card filing.