Project Eligibility Criteria
Project Eligibility Criteria
The Board’s decision-making is governed by its Grant Award Policy (Effective December 8, 2022). In addition, insight and guidance on the Board’s decision-making is contained in the Board’s Guidance. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review both documents before applying.
Who can apply?
Eligibility is determined by state statute, and, for federal funding, federal statute.
For state funding, for-profit entities are eligible to apply, as well as nonprofit telephone cooperatives or nonprofit rural electric associations that existed on May 10, 2014.
Applicants and appellants are required to submit granular mapping data to the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO). Learn about the CBO Broadband Data Collection.
Critically Unserved Areas
Previously, the Broadband Deployment Board (BDB) identified geographic regions to be included in the RFP process, as required by HB21-1109. The Broadband Data Team has developed updated maps of each region. Please click the links below to view maps of each identified critically unserved area:
- Fremont County
- Southern Archuleta County
- Southern Las Animas County
- Northern Larimer County
- Northern Weld County
- Western Moffat County
The counties designated as critically unserved are subject to change per the Board's annual review.
The Broadband Deployment Board only shall award a grant to an eligible applicant that has demonstrated that its proposed project meets the minimum project eligibility criteria. The minimum requirements are set forth in the Board Grant Award Policy. See the policy and its Exhibits A & B. To be considered for an award of high-cost support mechanism funds, Applicants bear the burden of proving to the Board that each of the following requirements are met:
- Minimum Requirements
a. Unserved Area. The proposed project area is either: (1) (i) outside of municipal boundaries or is within a city with a population of fewer than 7,500 inhabitants; and (ii) consists of households that lack access to at least one provider of a broadband network that uses satellite technology and at least one provider of a broadband network that uses non-satellite technology; or (2) any portion of a state or interstate highway corridor that lacks access to a provider of a broadband network.
b. New Project. The proposed project is a new project, and not a project in progress or in an area that is already funded. A “project in progress” means one in which construction of infrastructure has started. The Board may consider phased projects a “new project” if the phase for which funding is being requested would not otherwise be completed without funding from the Broadband Fund.
c. Fund Usage. Grant funds will only be used for infrastructure deployment and not for on- going operating costs. Funds will be used to provide last mile service, which is defined as the portion of broadband service that delivers an internet connection to an end user. Proposed projects may include middle mile or other infrastructure necessary to provide last mile connections to a broadband network.
d. Matching. The Applicant is providing independent matching funds of at least 25% of the total cost of the proposed project. The Board may allow in-kind contributions to serve as part or all of the required independent matching funds. In-kind matching contributions shall not include operational costs.
e. Overbuild. The proposed project does not “overbuild,” as defined by C.R.S. § 24-37.5- 119(16)(n), meaning the project does not seek to provide broadband to households which: (1) (i) have access to a broadband network, (ii) have received federal sources of high-cost support, or (iii) have received federal broadband grants for construction of a broadband network that will be completed within twenty-four months after the date that the applicant filed the application; and (2) where such households account for 20% or more of the households to be served in the project area.
f. Reliability. The Applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board that the proposed network will meet generally accepted industry reliability standards.
g. Ability to Construct. The Applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board an ability to deliver the proposed project within established timelines and within budget, and to complete the project no more than two (2) years from the date in which the grant award contract is executed.
h. Ability to Operate. The Applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board the ability to operate the network as proposed for a minimum of five (5) years following project completion.
i. Reasonable Costs. The Applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board an ability to provide broadband service at a reasonable project cost per household and at reasonable total service and installation costs to end users in the area to be served.
j. Franchise Agreement Ineligibility. The Applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board that the project is not in an area with a population density large enough to require service under an existing franchise agreement.
k. Complete Application. The Applicant has: (1) Applied using the most recent application form, (2) Answered all questions to the satisfaction of the Board, and (3) Provided all attachments to the satisfaction of the Board including, specifically, (a) a map of the project area, and (b) a list of: (i) household addresses demonstrating the insufficient availability of broadband service in the area, (ii) the board of county commissioners, city council, or other local entity with authority over the area to be served, and (iii) all incumbent providers or incumbent broadband providers that provide broadband internet service or broadband service in the project area.
If an application meets the minimum requirements, the Board may award grant funds after all grant applications for the applicable cycle have been reviewed using the criteria adopted by the Board at the time of the application deadline. Application funding will be prioritized based on a review of the award criteria (see below), the availability of funds and any other information the Board deems pertinent to the funding decision. In addition to all other requirements and assessments, the Board may consider but is not limited to considering the following criteria when awarding grants:
- Award Criteria
a. Regional Planning. The proposed project is consistent with a regional broadband plan and if applicable, a more detailed sub-regional (city, town or county) plan or the project has been endorsed by local entities with jurisdiction over the project area.
b. Purpose. The project will enhance economic development, telehealth, education, libraries, and/or public safety.
c. Speed. The planned downstream and upstream service speeds exceed the minimum speeds, such as through the Applicant’s submission of a detailed, tiered service chart, including service speeds, monthly and one-off user fees, installation fees, and contract duration.
d. Matching. The amount of matching funds relative to the award, and the general cost-effectiveness of the grant award money relative to the size of the project.
e. Geographic Distribution. Geographic distribution of grant awards with additional consideration to projects in areas that have not received an award from the Broadband Fund.
f. Licensing. Whether the project will provide services via licensed or unlicensed means of transmission.
g. Redundancy, Diversity, Latency. Whether the project plans indicate the project will have sufficient network redundancy and physical diversity, and latency to reliably serve the project area.
h. Costs. The cost-effectiveness of the project’s budget and proposed method for expanding broadband service into unserved areas.
i. Low-Income Support. The applicant has submitted a Broadband service plan that provides discounts for low-income households. Examples of a household meeting the low-income threshold include but are not limited to being eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and meeting the definition of low-income found in C.R.S. § 39- 3- 112(1)(b.3). (Note: This service plan is required for high-cost support mechanism funding that is being given preference due to a project areas status as a “critically unserved area”).
j. Critically Unserved. Whether the project will provide service to households that are located in an area determined by the Board to be “critically unserved.”
k. Applications submitted within the previous five years that met all of the award criteria but were denied grants due to the insufficiency of grant funding available at the time of application, and still continue to meet all of the award criteria.
Colorado Broadband Map Data
Mapping data is available to applicant for preparation of applications.
View the Broadband Board Toolkit Download Colorado Broadband Mapping Data
How to Apply
Download Application Forms
- Broadband Fund Grant Application available in PDF or docx
- Attachment A - Address List xlsx
- Attachment B - Budget xlsx
- Attachment E - Project Plan docx
- Attachment F - Operational Plan Directions | xlsx
All forms are available in the Application Forms Folder
Written Certification Process (optional)
The Board must give “substantial weight” to any written certifications when determining whether a proposed project will serve unserved areas. The written certification can be obtained from the local entity to certify that the area is an unserved area. The written certification must be submitted to the Board before the expiration of the 45-day comment period.
This is an optional addition to the application.
Written certification must be submitted to the Board before the expiration of the 45-day comment period. Please note that the written certification must be approved at a public hearing.
- The Process
1. Download written certification notice form and notify Broadband Fund staff of intent to obtain written certification.
2. Submit the following information to the local entity:
- Internet speed survey to be utilized to collect data for a local entity to review. CBO Speed Test may be utilized (see instructions below to receive results data from the CBO.
- Map of proposed project area using the Colorado Broadband Map showing other providers in the area.
- A spreadsheet of households and their respective mailing addresses of the project area. See Address List Spreadsheet Template.
- An analysis of the communities residing in the proposed project area. This analysis should include population information and a justification as to why the applicant is requesting to serve the proposed project area.
- An attachment indicating whether the area is or has been subject to any other upcoming state or federal funding or grants in the last 24 months.
3. The applicant, on behalf of the local entity, should distribute the internet speed survey to all household addresses (via their mailing address if different) in the proposed project area.
4. The applicant is responsible for determining if the local entity has approved a written certification at a public certification hearing. Signatures must be obtained from both the applicant and local entity authority.
5. Submit the signed written certification to the Board by before the 45-day comment period has ended.
Written Certification Notice Form PDF
Certification Request Address List PDF
Speed Test Survey Sample PDF
HB20-1137, enacted in July 2020, authorizes, but does not require, an applicant seeking grant money from the Board to submit to the Board a written certification from the local entity with jurisdiction over the area that the applicant proposes to serve, certifying that the area is an unserved area. The Board must give “substantial weight” to any written certifications when determining whether a proposed project will serve unserved areas.
If an applicant is seeking certification from a local entity that the application area is unserved, the written certification must be submitted to the Board before the expiration of the 45-day comment period.
The application, along with all attachments and exhibits, must be received by the Broadband Deployment Board (Board) by 11:59 p.m. on the submission deadline date. If any of the requested information or documentation is missing, your application may be rejected by the Board.
Applications will be made publicly available on the Board’s website.
Where to submit:
Submit by Email:
Contact staff for alternative submission options.
The application, along with all attachments and exhibits, must also be provided to:
- Local governments with jurisdiction over the area to be served; and
- Any known incumbent providers in the area to be served.
Amendments & Partial Awards
How do I submit an amendment to my application?
Application Amendment Form: PDF | docx
Open Application Amendment Form Folder
Please contact the Board’s staff to discuss your proposed project before completing and submitting this form.
Amendments shall be submitted to the Board, the board of county commissioners, city council or other local entity with authority over the area to be served, and to incumbent providers.
What amendments are allowed? Remove areas that do not meet the minimum requirements:
- If all other application requirements remain met, an application may be amended at any time to remove from the application coverage of an area that does not meet the minimum requirements.
- In the event of an award to an amended application, the Board will reduce the grant award proportionately, by calculating the grant dollars requested per household address served in the original application, multiplying that number by the number of household addresses removed from the coverage area and subtracting the total from the grant amount requested in the original application.
When can amendments be submitted? At any time
- An applicant may amend an application at any time to remove household addresses from the coverage area that do not meet the minimum requirements.
The Board may choose to award a partial grant for an area that does meet the criteria.
- In the event of a partial grant award, the Board will reduce the grant award proportionately, by calculating the grant dollars requested per household address served in the original application, multiplying that number by the number of household addresses removed from the coverage area and subtracting the total from the grant amount requested in the original application. The Board, in its sole discretion, may further adjust any partial grant award.