Colorado Legislature passes rural broadband bill

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DENVER |  A bill designed to bridge the economic divide between rural and urban Colorado by financing high-speed broadband construction in hard-to-reach areas is on its way to the governor’s desk.
Colorado’s Senate on Tuesday passed House amendments to the bill , long a top priority for legislators from both parties as well as Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

For years, advocates have maintained that the state’s eastern plains, western slope and many mountain towns have missed out on the state’s economic boom because of sluggish or non-existent service that can be a lifeline for farmers connecting with markets, telemedicine, public schools and small businesses.

The Colorado bill would take money from a fund to subsidize rural telephone service to subsidize broadband investment over an accelerated five-year period ending in 2023.