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REGIONAL—As an agency charged with promoting and facilitating economic development within our six-county region, Region 10 is currently taking the lead to develop a regional Broadband Improvement Plan for the benefit of our communities.

“With the approval of the Region 10 Board of Directors, we are pursuing a grant through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to improve this essential component of economic success,” Region 10 Executive Director Michelle Haynes said. “We intend to use the funding to create a methodology for providing affordable and adequate broadband services throughout our territory.”

In today’s world, the ability to access and transport information over the Internet is essential to doing business, whether your company serves the local market or an international clientele, she noted.

“Both our local communities and our region have identified a lack of adequate broadband resources as the primary obstruction to economic and community growth,” Haynes said. “To address this longstanding issue, we have developed a Scope of Work through the grant process that details options, costs and funding opportunities on both a local and regional basis.”

The plan is to provide abundant, redundant and affordable Internet service to citizens, businesses and visitors within a six-county region, through an assessment of needs for infrastructure and services; a strategy that includes surveys, public meetings, and asset mapping; educational workshops to provide information regarding the regulations, economics, and technology needed to develop a realistic plan; identification of the public and private projects already underway to address these needs; identification of gaps in the network and development of a blueprint to fill these gaps; and by addressing the sustainability and maintenance of the network into the future.

The grant application cites a 2011 study noting that, “Recent studies have demonstrated that bandwidth to community anchor institutions in the Denver metropolitan area is significantly higher than in rural southwestern Colorado. In sum, bandwidth is less available and more costly in southwest Colorado than in Denver and more costly and less available in the US than in other advanced countries.”

“The required match for the requested DOLA funding is 25 percent,” Haynes said.  “Because we understand the need for this important service, Region 10’s counties and municipal members have agreed to provide the cash match funding that will be needed to proceed with the project.”