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U.S. Adds $288 Million for High-Speed Internet to Colorado and New Mexico

The federal government of the United States is expanding its internet service in Colorado and New Mexico, connecting nearly 60,000 homes and businesses to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. The U.S. Treasury Department has approved a $288 million fund for broadband projects under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF).

Access to affordable, resilient, and secure broadband is a necessity that opens economic doors, connects students to educational resources, and allows us to stay in touch with friends and family. Moreover, internet connectivity was vital for connecting citizens to telehealth, as was seen during the pandemic. The CPF funding will assist Colorado and New Mexico in continuing to improve the states with the poorest levels of internet service.

“The pandemic upended lives and exposed the stark disparities in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, particularly in rural, tribal, and other underrepresented communities.,” said Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo.

Colorado has been approved for a grant of US$170.8 million for broadband infrastructure. The fund is expected to cover approximately 15% of the remaining areas without high-speed internet access and connect 18,000 households and businesses across the state. Colorado’s internet speed is expected to meet or exceed 25/3 Mbps due to the programme.

“We are thrilled that this exciting federal grant will bring money-savings to an estimated 18,000 locations across Colorado, including homes, businesses, agriculture, and more,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Affordable and accessible broadband connects Coloradans and strengthens our economy, and we praise the federal government’s cooperation on this critical work.”

New Mexico has been approved for US$117 million in broadband infrastructure funding, where broadband will connect an estimated 40,611 households and businesses to cover 21% of locations which still lack high-speed internet access.

“We are broadening access to health care, education, and economic opportunity in New Mexico communities by widening broadband infrastructure,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “I am grateful to Vice President Biden and New Mexico’s congressional delegation for their efforts in securing these federal funds.”

The awards will fund the Connect Colorado and New Mexico Broadband grant programme. It is a competitive grant programme designed to build broadband infrastructure in areas of the state without access to reliable wireline service. The project’s completion goal is to provide symmetrical internet service to households and businesses at speeds of 100/100 Mbps.

Following Treasury guidance, each state’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Programme (ACP). The Affordable Connectivity Programme ensures that households can afford high-speed internet for work, school, healthcare, and other purposes by providing a monthly discount of up to US$30 (or up to US$75 per eligible household on Tribal lands). According to experts, nearly 40% of U.S. households qualify for the programme.

The U.S. government secured commitments from 20 leading internet service providers to reduce costs even further. All these providers cover more than 80% of the U.S. population and will provide high-speed, high-quality internet plans to all ACP-eligible households for less than US$30 per month. As a result, ACP-eligible families can receive free internet access, check their eligibility, and sign up at GetInternet.gov.

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