RS 1: Colorado

The Rural Broadband Push to Close Colorado’s Digital Divide

The digital divide has become a serious issue in recent years affecting those unable to pay the price or live in areas that receive quality internet service. This article was looking at how this problem has been affecting individuals that reside in various rural areas of Colorado. The author firsts start off by addressing the fact that since rural areas have more distance in between them, it makes it harder to provide internet in those areas. The fastest option for one resident was 20 mbps, though according to Hartline, the Federal Communications Commission says “moderate internet activities…require speeds of 12 to 25 mbps. Households or businesses with multiple computers need more mbps to deliver video conferencing or fast downloads of applications (2018). However, the author says the option to have fast speeds like those as the minimum is only offered for residents in well known areas, with just a very small percentage being allowed those same speeds in the rural county and for a higher cost. After that, Hartline talked about how metro areas can have the ability to purchase 60 Mbps for $45 for being in popular areas. For the urban area there were very few options, but one company called Eastern Slope was offering “eastern Colorado residents plans starting around $40 monthly – but at speeds of only 4 Mbps” (Hartline, 2018). Because these areas are harder to reach, companies don’t even want to make it out to install new internet infrastructures. On top of that, if they do come out “[i]n rural areas where the cables are serving fewer people, the bill is proportionally higher – which explains why Reed would pay more for slower internet speeds in Bailey than in Denver” (Hartline,2018). The government has taken steps to give incentives for companies that do take the time to provide better quality internet for these far out citizens. The article also mentioned how the college that isn’t too far out provides great internet access with speeds up to 100 Mbps. Lastly, Hartline discussed how some communities have took it upon themselves to just have their own internet services, but must get around state law that “prohibits Colorado cities from developing their own municipal internet networks” (2018).