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Northwest Colorado gets a gigabit broadband boost from U.S. Department of Agriculture

Yampa Valley Electric Association awarded $6 million to build 209 miles of internet fiber to connect Moffat, Eagle and Grand counties

Tamara Chuang, Colorado Sun

The Yampa Valley Electric Association became the first Colorado-based entity to receive a federal ReConnect grant to build better broadband service in rural communities.

The rural electric co-op, which currently offers its Luminate Fiber broadband service in Craig and Hayden, received a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture program. It will use the money, along with $2 million of its own, to build 209-miles of “middle-mile” internet service to eventually reach 264 homes, 27 farms, 27 businesses and three U.S. Post Offices in Moffat, Eagle and Grand counties. 

“This partnership allows us to construct the necessary infrastructure that we need to deliver this high-speed broadband service to some of the most rural unserved and underserved areas of northwest Colorado,” said Steve Johnson, the co-op’s CEO and general manager.

For the ReConnect grant, YVEA will build the “middle mile” internet lines that connect the massive internet backbone to the individual service lines built to customer homes and businesses,  This includes 95 miles  to connect Steamboat Springs and the communities of Toponas, McCoy, Bond and State Bridge. Another 60 miles of fiber will extend from Craig to Hamilton, and then another 54 miles west to Maybell. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.

While YVEA  is the first Colorado company to get the ReConnect grant, it’s the second company to get one that serves Coloradans. Emery Telcom, based in Utah, received two grants to extend its fiber broadband service into Dolores, San Miguel and Montezuma counties. Those projects will connect the region’s broadband services and enable Emery to reach nearly 1,200 homes in the southwest part of the state.

To read more, go to ColoradoSun.com.


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