Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Thursday, April 13, 2000
Amy Jewett Sampson
DENVER -- Gov. Bill Owens announced today that he has requested the Department of Local Affairs to look into discretionary grant resources within the department to identify possible funding sources for rural telecommunications planning and development activities to help bridge the gap between rural and urban Colorado communities.
The Governor expressed his hope that the majority of all Colorado towns and cities will have telecommunications access at affordable costs within the next four years.
"Locating more funding for Colorados rural communities is an important step in helping to bridge the digital divide in our state," said Gov. Owens. "I am committed to finding more assistance for these areas to become economically viable and competitive in the new millenium."
The Governor directed Executive Director of Local Affairs Bob Brooks to identify and to make available to local communities from $300,000 to $500,000 to aid in their regional telecommunication planning efforts. The Governor expressed his desire to develop good planning data to be available to take to the General Assembly in 2001 in the hopes that the legislature will provide additional support for rural telecommunications in Colorado.
Pilot efforts are currently being conducted in several areas of the state with the $4.2 million implementation funds that are now available. By allocating additional funds for preliminary planning and systems design, the legislature will see the results and may reconsider estimates for additional work to be performed in 2001-2002.
Bob Brooks said, "I am enthusiastic about looking at Local Affairs discretionary grant programs to identify with our local government partners where grant funds can appropriately be applied for this important rural community development need."
Brooks indicated he would have his staff review a variety of grant programs to identify possible funding sources. While Brooks stressed that he would need to assure that the Governor's desire to assist communities was consistent with state and federal legislation governing the various programs, he was confident that he would be successful in matching funding sources with communities desiring funds for telecommunications planning.
Identification of funding sources comes on the heels of 1999 legislation the Beanpole bill -- that the Governor signed into law that provides approximately $4.8 million dollars for the aggregation of rural telecommunications purchases by state and local governments and non-profit organizations to encourage private sector providers to extend modern telecommunications services to under-served areas of Colorado.
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