State Broadband Funding Reversed for West Hotchkiss Area
MARCH 28, 2019 –Earlier this year, the state’s Broadband Deployment Board awarded $4 million in state grant funds to bring high-speed internet to citizens near Crawford, Hotchkiss, Northeast Delta, and West Montrose. The funding was awarded to DMEA to build the fiber network that Elevate would use to deliver high-speed internet service. Unfortunately, the good news didn’t last long for those living in West Hotchkiss. On March 8, 2019, the Broadband Deployment Board agreed with TDS that the grant for the West Hotchkiss area should be reversed because TDS already serves that area with high-speed internet. TDS is the long-time internet service provider in much of Delta County.
“The results are bittersweet. We are grateful for the state Broadband Deployment Board’s grants for the areas near Crawford, Delta, and Montrose. TDS contended they already provide broadband in and around West Hotchkiss, and they argued our grant for that area should be revoked. Ultimately, the Broadband Board found their argument persuasive, but we respectfully disagree,” said Kent Blackwell, Chief Technology Officer for DMEA and Elevate.
Despite the loss of funds for the Hotchkiss area, overall most citizens living in the grant application area triumphed. The Broadband Deployment Board awarded just over $3 million in grants to DMEA to construct fiber that will allow Elevate to provide high-speed internet. This is more than half the entire funding made available in the 2018 Fall DORA Broadband program. Construction is expected to kick off in the awarded grant areas in early fall 2019. These grant areas correspond to the following Elevate zones: Montrose 428 C, Crawford 57 (portions), and Delta N 175 (portions).
“We can’t help but be disappointed for our neighbors near Hotchkiss. At the same time, we are genuinely grateful for the support the Broadband Deployment Board is providing in our remaining three zones. Those citizens will see truly high-speed internet within the year—all because of the Broadband Deployment Board,” said Blackwell.
About the State of Colorado’s Broadband Fund
Established in 2014, the state’s Broadband Fund is designed to bring broadband to rural Colorado at speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Over the last 3 years, the fund has directed more than $11 million to unserved communities in Colorado, including those served by Elevate. As a result of grants to DMEA, communities like Paonia and Olathe now have access to truly high-speed internet through Elevate. The fund is administered by a 16-member board. Learn more about the Broadband Deployment Board at www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora-broadband-fund/deployment-board or www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora-broadband-fund. Submit feedback directly to the board online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfXMiMT_2pUNFo2q5j6fzACQvkBxCn….
Elevate is a local fiber internet company that provides truly high-speed internet to rural homes and businesses in Montrose and Delta counties. A wholly owned subsidiary of the rural electric co-op, DMEA, Elevate is utilizing a fiber network across the co-op’s service territory to improve the quality of life. Service offerings include high-speed internet starting at 100 Mbps up to 1 Gig, television, and home phone. Learn more or sign up for service at elevateinternet.com.