The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) has awarded a $65,000 grant through the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) for the development of an eight-county strategic plan to improve broadband capacity across the region.

NWCCOG is contributing $50,000 in matching funds and three additional participating counties are contributing a total of $15,000 in matching funds. Through a competitive selection process, NWCCOG has selected Mid-State Consultants, Inc. as a technically knowledgeable and capable company to prepare the plan and otherwise assist NWCCOG fulfill the intent of its grant. Mid-State will work with OHIvey, LLC to complete their requirements. The participating jurisdictions include Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties plus the City of Glenwood Springs and the Town of Carbondale.

The plan will primarily address high-speed internet services and will include cell phone coverage and emergency management communications systems in the asset mapping. The development of a strategic plan addresses the need to coordinate multiple private and public efforts towards a common goal of improving broadband capability within the region. Specifically, the plan calls for: 1) an assessment of needs, both infrastructure and services, through surveys, public meetings, and asset mapping; 2) educational workshops to ensure that the participants have the information needed on regulations, economics, and technology to develop a realistic plan; 3) identification of public and private projects already underway to address these needs; 4) identification of gaps in the network and a strategy to fill these gaps, including cost estimates; and 5) address sustainability and maintenance of the network into the future. These steps will ensure that the region builds on statewide efforts already underway in a coordinated approach to improving broadband in the region.

NWCCOG has convened a steering committee that consists of one representative from each county. Each steering committee member serves at the point person for their county and will work with
NWCCOG staff and the Contractor in identifying the appropriate stakeholders for meetings, workshops, or discussions regarding items related to that county. The Steering Committee will meet periodically to help oversee and direct the project.