In a shining moment for Loveland and its commitment to high quality, publicly owned and operated utilities, elected state representatives, broadband officials, and the public gathered to celebrate a massive investment in the future of broadband access in the United States. Last week President Biden announced the allocation of more than $42 billion in federal funding to expand high-speed internet access for all Americans. Of that, the State of Colorado will receive over $826,500,000. Governor Polis, alongside Senator Bennet, Brandy Reitter from the Colorado Broadband Office, Doug Kinkoph, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Associate Administrator, regional broadband contributors, and the community came together to discuss what these funds from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) initiative mean for the future of Coloradoans.
“This exciting federal support builds upon our work to make sure Coloradans can access high-speed, reliable internet. Here in Colorado, we continue to make bold progress towards our goal of connecting 99% of Colorado households to affordable, high-speed broadband by 2027 and we welcome the needed federal support to help connect more Coloradans,” said Governor Polis.
The Polis administration’s plan to connect 99% of Colorado households by the end of 2027 is empowered by this funding, which will connect anchor institutions (which will then provide connection to all the homes/ businesses in that town) and apartment buildings so every “unit” in the building is connected. The BEAD Program is based on Senator Bennet’s bipartisan BRIDGE Act, which was incorporated into the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s BEAD program, based on my bipartisan BRIDGE Act, will bring high-speed internet to communities across Colorado, ensuring our students can continue learning in the digital age and connecting homes, farms, and small businesses across the state. Just as earlier generations had the foresight to electrify the nation and build our interstate highway system, now it is our turn to invest in our communities and lay the foundation for decades of economic growth,” said Senator Michael Bennet.
As Larimer County is home to over 24% of unserved and underserved Coloradoans, BEAD funds have great potential to make a significant impact in our area. Pulse and Larimer County, along with other area municipal broadband utilities, have been working on future options to expand connectivity to our friends and neighbors outside the limits of this region’s fiber-enabled cities. Together we have formed NoCo Community Fiber, a group that will work to access BEAD and other funds to connect our county-residing community members.
“Our community extends beyond the City of Loveland, as our students, workforce, and employers don’t stop at city limits. We are excited to collaborate with Larimer County to access BEAD funding, which will allow us to provide widespread, affordable, and high-quality access to this vital resource,” said Brieana Reed-Harmel, City of Loveland broadband manager.
In the same way Rural Electrification connected Americans to electricity in the 1930s, this historic investment in broadband will connect Americans and Larimer County to high-speed internet. As such, the BEAD celebration today will forever be etched in Pulse’s history. For us, it signifies our unwavering commitment to the continuation of providing ubiquitous coverage and using future-proof technology. Ensuring that this investment will meet the needs of our entire community now and for future generations to come.