JTF support provides funds to expand staff capacity and scale successful model.
Grant Amount: $150,000
Region10 provides small business, regional development to six counties in Western Colorado, including Delta, Montrose, Hinsdale, Gunnison, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. Throughout the region, which has lost more than 1,100 direct jobs from coal plant closures since 2014, an estimated 25% of households lack access to any internet service.
As a regional broadband leader, Region10 has leveraged public federal and state funding to construct a fiber network that brings internet infrastructure—referred to as “middle mile”—from larger cities like Denver into this rural region of the state. By assuming public ownership of the middle mile, Region10’s model has made it cost-effective for new ISPs to build the house-to-house connections (referred to as “last-mile”) to serve small, rural communities. They actively connect communities along their network’s route with potential internet service providers and develop projects that will serve unserved and underserved households. Region10 then actively helps communities apply for federal or state grants if there’s a need to subsidize the upfront construction costs.
“Our aim is to lower the barrier of entry for Internet Service Providers to connect homes and businesses across Colorado, especially in areas where high plains and mountain ranges often make universal broadband coverage prohibitively expensive. These are areas where the private sector alone has sometimes come up short.”
With a grant and technical assistance from the JTF, Region10 will expand its current staff capacity and scale this successful model to work with more coal impacted communities in Western Colorado apply. Region10 estimates these projects will leverage upwards of $20 million in federal funding to connect up to 4,000 households.
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“This funding from the Just Transition Fund will help support the projects we’ve planned to address these shortcomings and help ensure we do our part to meet Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ goal of connecting 99 percent of Colorado households by 2027.”