Home Internet Thousands of Colorado residents with poor internet may have been overlooked in federal data

Thousands of Colorado residents with poor internet may have been overlooked in federal data

A recent study by researchers at Broadband Now found federal data tracking access to internet service across the country could be underestimating the level of need.

The study found there were about 13,000 more people in Colorado that didn’t have quality service.

The Colorado Sun reporter Michael Booth joined KUNC’s Michael Lyle, Jr. to discuss the issue.

“We have people living in some rural areas and some ‘hard-to-serve’ areas of Colorado that need greater internet service for the same reasons that the rest of us do on the Front Range,” said Booth. “Those needs are for uploading homework, for doing telehealth and for paying our bills on time. And if you have a small business, you need a great internet connection for video conferences and a number of things.”

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Booth said there is over $42 billion in federal funding available to help underserved households and residents get assistance receiving better internet service. Yet, some could miss out on that funding due to incomplete tracking by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“What needs to be done, and what the state is saying, is if you do feel like you’re being undercounted, or if your area has bad service and you’re not being accounted for, you should go to the FCC,” said Booth. “You can sign up and register and say that you’ve got inadequate service.”

Gov. Jared Polis said in February 2022 that his goal is to get Colorado 99% covered with broadband service by 2027.

The federal government last year awarded the state over $826 million as part of the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program, known as BEAD, to improve broadband infrastructure and to assist those households that don’t have the proper service.

Booth said with the federal money the state is receiving, Polis’ goal is realistic.

“It seems like they’re going to be close to that margin,” said Booth.

Booth said the hope is that communities and local internet providers that need additional support will soon get what they need, as the BEAD program is set to commence sometime this year.



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