House Committee Approves Expansion of Rural Broadband Infrastructure

(Apr. 26) – The House Rural Affairs and Agriculture committee approved Rep. Dylan Roberts’ bill to expand the broadband infrastructure in Colorado, especially in rural areas.

“Access to the internet is an indispensable part of our lives and it’s important we create equity between the rural and urban areas,” said Rep. Roberts, D-Avon. “Improving broadband infrastructure will help close the digital divide in communities on the Western Slope. We can save millions of dollars on new infrastructure if we allow electrical easement holders to deliver internet services to communities.”

Rep. Roberts is the Chair of the Rural Affairs and Agriculture committee.

This bill allows electrical easement holders to lease existing fiber resources on these easements for the purpose of delivering broadband internet services to communities. It will allow the utilization of dark fiber by providers to connect areas without having to spend money on costly new infrastructure or easement negotiation.

In parts of rural Colorado, broadband services are inadequate and in some instances nonexistent. Similar legislation has been passed in Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The bill passed the Senate on a 35-0 vote. SB19-107 passed the committee on a bipartisan vote of 9-1. It now heads to the House floor.

The Senate co-prime sponsor is Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail.

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