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Colorado receives rural broadband grant

Polis administration welcomes federal rural broadband infrastructure investment

Craig Press Staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a grant award of $6 million to Yampa Valley Electric Association Oct. 29, expanding northwestern Colorado’s rural broadband access to an additional 264 homes, farms and businesses located in Routt, Moffat and Eagle counties, according to a press release from the state of Colorado.

This award supports Governor Jared Polis’ Rural Economic Blueprint, which outlines ways the Polis administration will continue to address concerns and challenges in rural communities by leveraging existing assets, building on innovative programs, and increasing efforts to ensure that all Coloradans have the opportunity to thrive.

Gov. Polis is committed to modernizing Colorado’s broadband infrastructure to expand internet access across the state and help rural communities. 

“People need high-speed internet to be able to telecommute, access telemedicine, and enjoy modern entertainment at home, and now we can bring connectivity to more people across northwestern Colorado. Access to affordable, reliable, robust broadband service helps the economy grow in both rural and urban communities and it’s important to use every available resource to support infrastructure investment of this magnitude,” said Gov. Jared Polis in the press release. “Every Coloradan community should have the opportunity to thrive and Yampa Valley Electric Association has provided safe, reliable and affordable electricity to the communities of Northwest Colorado for over 76 years and now YVEA is leaning in to broadband deployment as a foundation for economic resilience and these resources will help.” 

Federal programs like ReConnect complement Colorado’s broadband initiatives, enabling the state to leverage scarce resources desperately needed to allow rural communities to economically thrive.

Yampa Valley Electric Association will provide $2 million in matching funds for a total project investment of $8 million, providing fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) in communities that generally lack access to broadband. 

The ReConnect Program was created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which directed the USDA to establish a new broadband loan and grant pilot program – now called the ReConnect Program.

The Act appropriated $550 million in 2020 for loans and grants to cover the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. Three Colorado broadband providers filed ReConnect applications totaling more than $33 million to provide fiber to the premises for 3,396 rural Coloradans.

On October 13, Emery Telecommunications & Video Inc. was awarded a $6.3 million USDA ReConnect grant to deploy a FTTP network to connect 1,638 people, 91 farms, 52 businesses, three fire stations and two post offices in Dolores, San Miguel and Montezuma counties in Colorado.

“We thank the Colorado Congressional delegation, USDA Secretary, Sonny Perdue, and the agency staff for their work on this critical investment in Colorado’s rural broadband infrastructure,” the Governor added. 

The USDA ReConnect award was announced today during a USDA sponsored event in Steamboat Springs, CO. 


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