Huffpost Denver

Colorado Broadband: Map Exposes Digital Divide Between Rural, Urban Areas

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DENVER - About 97 percent of Colorado households have some high-speed Internet service available without an extraordinary commitment of resources, but access is far less in rural areas, according to a new report.

The Governor's Office of Information Technology and a subsidiary of the broadband advocacy group Connected Nation have been mapping broadband availability across Colorado, before working to expand access.

They said in a report released Wednesday that nearly all Denver households have access to broadband service of at least 768 kilobits per second downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream, but at least 20 percent of households in 15 more rural counties like Crowley and Saguache can't get it.

The report also noted that even those speeds might not be fast enough for some users.

The maps focused on cable, fiber, DSL and wireless platforms for Internet access. The maps didn't show availability of service via satellite, but the report said it's available throughout the state.

Colorado's rugged mountains, the number of second and vacation homes in resort towns, and a lack of infrastructure in sparsely populated areas can pose barriers for some Internet service providers to expand access to high-speed service.

The state is receiving $2.1 million in federal stimulus money to help gather more data and to map priority areas for broadband deployment.