Colorado’s Republican-led Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would expedite the construction of high-speed broadband service in rural areas by taking money from a state fund that has long subsidized rural telephone service.
Rural broadband is a top session priority for lawmakers and for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who acknowledge that Colorado’s eastern plains, western slope and many mountain towns have missed out on the economic boom that is centered in metropolitan Denver.
Republican Sens. Don Coram of Montrose and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling argue their bill will boost economic development and curb depopulation of rural Colorado by providing jobs in an economy that runs on broadband. Also co-sponsoring the bill are Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and House Majority Leader KC Becker.
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Colorado is not waiting for the Federal Government to fund rural broadband.