What can we do for you?
We partner with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), the Office of the Governor, and the Office of the Attorney General to support connectivity to school districts and libraries, as well as to students, staff, and patrons.
The FCC's E-rate program provides funding towards eligible internet and telecommunications services for schools and libraries. Contact us to discuss the E-rate program and how we can support you.
- Kids Link Colorado partnership
In 2016, we partnered with EducationSuperHighway (ESH), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Governor's Office to ensure that school districts have access to scalable infrastructure, high-speed affordable bandwidth, and ubiquitous Wi-Fi for digital learning. In 2020, as EducationSuperHighway prepared to sunset, they partnered with Connected Nation to carry forward its mission with Connect K-12 as the foundation of their work. We continue to work with Connected Nation for vital information about school connectivity.
In that time we increased the percent of school districts that meet the minimum FCC bandwidth goal of 100 kbps per student from 89% to 100%. Since then, the minimum FCC bandwidth goal has been changed to 1 Mbps per student. In 2019, 7% of students in Colorado met the 1 Mbps per student goal, and in 2020 that increased to 14% of students.
For more information, check out the ESH and Connect K-12 State Snapshots:
- Purchasing power in Colorado
We have worked closely with the Colorado Educational Broadband Coalition, a consortium who developed a single RFP for E-rate services, resulting in greater bandwidth for over 30 school districts at approximately 3% of the cost. Read more here.
- Match Funding
In the E-Rate Modernization Order, the FCC recognized the need for greater high-speed broadband connectivity and eased requirements to help applicants gain access by providing up to an additional 10 percent in category one funding to match state funding for one-time special construction charges for last-mile facilities to support high-speed broadband, with special consideration for Tribal schools.
Colorado has identified an existing funding source (BEST Grant Program) that qualifies for the State Match program as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
For example, if state funds are utilized for the project, the E-Rate discount will be increased by up to 10 percent to match the state’s investment. For information about E-Rate eligible services, visit the USAC Eligible Services Overview.
Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program
BEST provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. BEST funds can be utilized for the construction of new schools as well as for improvements to existing school facility systems, structures, and technology infrastructure.
As of the 2017-2018 E-Rate cycle, BEST Grant funding will be eligible for Category 1 special construction costs. BEST Grant awards are made between June and July. Applicants can note on Form 471 that a state match was requested and notify USAC upon award.
For information about BEST eligibility and application process, please visit the Colorado Department of Education Capital Construction page.
When the pandemic began in 2020, many schools transitioned to remote learning and the importance of internet connectivity at home became immediately apparent.
A statewide survey in April 2020 revealed that nearly 66,000 students did not have internet access at home. We are working with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), the Governor's Office, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) to close the gap.
- FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund
The FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. ECF will help provide relief to millions of students, school sta, and library patrons and will help close the Homework Gap for students who currently lack necessary Internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.
- Connecting Colorado Students Grant
HB 20B-1001 appropriated $20 million from the general fund to award grants through the Connecting Colorado Students grant program to increase access to broadband services for students, educators, and other staff who lack stable, reliable internet access for online learning.
- Planning Resources for Districts
In 2020, EducationSuperHighway launched Digital Bridge K-12 to support school districts to increase connectivity outside the classroom.
Digital Bridge K-12 identifies strategies and best practices for school districts to efficiently identify students who lack access to a device or Internet outside the classroom.
- Student Connectivity Webinar Series (Fall 2020)
The Colorado Broadband Office hosted a special webinar series focusing on student connectivity. The goal of these webinars is to shine a light on the complex issue of ensuring broadband access for all students to enable participation in remote learning. We talked with school districts, broadband providers, and policymakers about the challenge of connecting students, understanding the needs, innovative solutions, existing programs, and how to fund student connectivity.
Resources for Learning at Home from CDE
Free and Low-Cost Broadband Resources for Education
As directed in HB 20B-1001, CDE and OIT have developed a list of free and low-cost broadband services and other internet access resources for students, educators, and other staff. Please contact us if you have any new or updated information about broadband resources for education.
Updated Dec. 17, 2020
- Access from AT&T
- Charter Communications: Spectrum Internet Assist
- Ciello (SLV Rural Electric Cooperative)
- Comcast: Internet Essentials
- Elevate Internet (Delta Montrose Electric Association
- Jade Communications
- NextLight (City of Longmont): Sharing the NextLight
- T-Mobile: Project 10Million
- Verizon Distance Learning Program
- Viaero Wireless: ConnectED and Student Unlimited Plan
We track a number of programs that provide funding for school, library, and remote connectivity, such as E-rate, the Emergency Connectivity Fund, and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. We can help you identify which funding programs meet your needs and help you understand and navigate those programs. We can also help you leverage funding by partnering with other community organizations like healthcare providers and local governments, as well as facilitate relationships with ISP.
Contact us if you have questions about federal funding programs.