Grant to fund Internet services in rural Mesa County

One of seven grants will help fund efforts to provide Internet services in the Collbran and Molina areas of Mesa County.

The Broadband Deployment Board within the Department of Regulatory Agencies announced $2.1 million in grants as part of efforts to close the Internet services gap between rural and urban Colorado communities.

Optimus Communications was awarded $112,500 for a project to use existing cable infrastructure to provide broadband services in Collbran and Molina. Wireless service will be provided to customers in the surrounding areas that aren’t accessible by the cable system. The system will support approximately 1,500 broadband customers over cable and another 400 broadband customers over wireless.

Seven recipients were awarded grant funding for eight infrastructure projects that will be completed over the next two years. A total of more than 4,700 households and 175 businesses in  Eagle, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lake, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Prowers, Sedgwick and Weld counties will benefit from the projects.

This is the first award cycle of the fund, which was created in 2014 and received the first in a series of grant award money last year.

“Broadband access is a critical service for Colorado communities, especially in supporting economic development,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “These grants will bring more than broadband services to many unserved communities; they will also grow opportunity for their local businesses and residents.”

The grant program is competitive, and funding is considered for projects that provide benefits to unserved communities. Recipients of the awards must provide broadband service as defined as at least 25 megabits per second download speeds and 3 megabits per second upload speeds.