Rural Colorado is about to score a major broadband win, and so is Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers |

Rural Colorado is about to score a major broadband win, and so is Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers

A bipartisan bill to spend more than $100 million to extend high-speed internet to rural Colorado is headed to the governor

Jackson Federico, a tower technician for Advanced Wireless Solutions, works to make some repairs on the dish on the Pollard cell tower high off the ground in rural Rio Blanco County on July 12, 2017 near Meeker.
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Gov. John Hickenlooper is poised to sign a bill to allocate $115 million in the next five years to extend high-speed internet to rural Colorado, a significant step toward achieving his goal to connect the entire state.

The measure is a legacy piece for the term-limited governor and a major victory for state lawmakers who prioritized the needs of beleaguered rural communities as a way to bridge their deep divide with the state’s robust urban areas.

“People didn’t think we could get it done — I wasn’t sure we were going to get it done — but I think it’s something that down the road will make this state stronger and more resilient forever.” Hickenlooper said in an interview.

This legislative session, Hickenlooper made rural Colorado a top focus — a move his critics say is long overdue, but one the governor believes has been a constant throughout his two terms.

His annual State of the State address in January mentioned the word “rural” 28 times, according to the prepared text, as many as the previous seven years combined.

The Democrat said he wanted to make a point in his final address, and he acknowledged that not all parts of the state have rebounded from the economic downturn.

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