Rural Broadband Passes Senate, Upload to House in Progress
DENVER – Colorado’s rural communities may finally receive the connectivity they’ve asked for as Senate Bill-2 has passed the State Senate on a bipartisan 30-5 vote. The bill, highlighted as one of Senate Republicans key bills for 2018, expands rural broadband projects in collaboration with local internet service providers.
SB-2’s major provisions include:
- Upping the definition of “broadband internet” service from at least 4 megabits per second to at least 10 megabits per second, and including in the definition of “unserved areas” places that are unincorporated, have less than 7,500 residents and do not receive federal broadband support
- Makes changes in the way “high cost support mechanism” funds are allocated and broadband grants are made
- Includes safeguards to ensure that funds are allocated fairly and dollars aren’t used to duplicate effort or “overbuild” in already-served areas
Broadband expansion’s economic impact is far reaching, with many industries and professions having a heavy reliance on internet connectivity. Additionally, the expansion of broadband into areas with little to no internet currently will see advances in online educational opportunities and telemedicine, especially where hospitals are distant.
Senator Don Coram (R-Montrose), sponsor of SB-2, stated, “From the farm fields to our classrooms, connecting our state is a priority for everybody, and that’s why it saw broad, bipartisan support on the Senate floor this morning. This bill isn’t just a wink and a nod to our rural communities, it’s an actual commitment, and I’m excited to see it go to the House, where it is already receiving praise and support from both sides of the aisle.”
“With Senate Bill-2, the State will put its money where its mouth is, so to speak, and take action for rural Colorado. This isn’t about streaming Netflix or browsing Facebook, it’s about creating jobs, saving lives, and giving our students opportunities to learn,” added Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), also a sponsor of SB-2. “But, it surely doesn’t hurt to be able to watch a little House of Cards at the end of the day.”
Senate Bill-2 now heads to the Colorado House of Representatives.