Colorado unleashes $113M for broadband projects

Colorado will dish out $113 million from its Capital Projects Fund (CPF) to over a dozen providers, who are collectively undertaking 27 broadband projects to connect nearly 19,000 homes and businesses in the state.

To be clear, the awards list is not yet finalized, as the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) will conduct a challenge and appeals process through which it may receive challenges to the broadband availability of individual locations within the published award data. The CBO will also process any appeals from applicants who have been denied a grant award.

Clearnetworx bagged the largest funding amount, with around $25.3 million across five grants. Two of the grants will cover projects in Montezuma County, and Clearnetworx will also build networks in Archuleta, La Plata and San Miguel Counties.

Loveland Pulse, a municipally owned broadband utility, is set to receive three grants totaling $3.23 million to continue its fiber network build in Larimer County. In November, Pulse announced the completion of a $110 million fiber build – the largest capital project in the municipality’s history.

Wyoming-based Visionary Broadband is another notable winner, though it scored just one $5.2 million grant covering Chaffee County. Visionary got its roots as a DSL and fixed wireless access provider, CEO Brian Worthen told Fierce in December 2022, but it’s aiming to build around 20,000 new fiber locations per year over the next few years.

Visionary last month received $18 million in funding from its home state, covering 15 projects.

Other Colorado grant winners include the Southern Ute Indian Tribe ($8.57 million), municipal broadband utility Fort Collins Connexion ($10.7 million), Southern Colorado Economic Development District ($12.5 million), Delta Montrose Electric Association ($5.14 million) and more.

All told, grant recipients will contribute around $42.4 million in matching funds. 100% of the projects will use fiber to the premise technology, said the CBO.

As for other broadband funding opportunities, Colorado scored a $826 million allocation from the federal government’s $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. State officials have said BEAD money will help connect 99% of Coloradan homes by 2027.