Group announces $130M broadband network project

An intergovernmental group announced Monday a $130-million project aimed at installing 4,600 miles of infrastructure to support an improved broadband internet network across Colorado.

The network will offer better connectivity and faster Internet speeds for school districts, libraries, government agencies, emergency services and healthcare facilities, according to EAGLE-Net Alliance. The cost-sharing cooperative, whose board of directors includes government officials from throughout the state, plans to deliver an enhanced broadband network to more than 230 places, such as schools and libraries, in more than 170 communities.

“To be competitive with neighboring states and the nation, all of our communities need to have affordable access to the Internet,” EAGLE-Net CEO Randy Zila said. “Our project will go a long way in making broadband accessible statewide.”

The project will use $100 million in federal funding and another $30 million from public and private sources that EAGLE-Net had to raise to receive the federal dollars.

The project will particularly benefit rural areas, including some parts of Northern Colorado, Western Slope and San Luis Valley, EAGLE-Net spokeswoman Gretchen Dirks said. The project will offer more bandwidth at a lower price.

The group plans to complete the infrastructure upgrades, which includes installation of new fiber-optic line or leasing unused line, by August 2013.

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