DMEA, Elevate Internet Secure $13.8M USDA Broadband Grant
Today, the Rural Utilities Service awarded Delta-Montrose Electric Association a $13.8 million grant to expand its fiber optic network and bring Elevate Internet to some of the most rural places in Western Colorado. The grant is part of the USDA's ReConnect Program.
"Today's news is phenomenal. It will help us bring service to some of DMEA's most rural members, often in areas with less than four homes per mile on our system. When this project is complete, 95% of our members will have access to Elevate," said Kent Blackwell, DMEA Interim CEO and Chief Technology Officer.
With these grant funds, DMEA will construct more than 340 miles of fiber optic cable, primarily across Delta and Montrose counties. Once built, the currently underserved residents of Somerset and the surrounding mesas near Hotchkiss and Crawford, including Scenic Mesa and Rogers Mesa, will have access to Elevate's world-class internet. In total, DMEA will bring Elevate's Gigabit internet to an additional 1,479 homes and businesses.
In reference to DMEA’s award USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Armando Valdez said, “For too long, many rural communities across Colorado have been left out of the digital economy. Connectivity is a real game-changer in rural America. The internet is vital to our state’s growth and continues to act as a catalyst for our rural prosperity.”
This is the second multi-million dollar grant the co-op has received from the USDA ReConnect Program. Last year, DMEA was also awarded a $10.5 million grant to build out Elevate's fiber network to approximately 2,400 homes and businesses near Delta and Olathe, CO. Construction of Elevate's network in these areas is expected to begin in early 2023. With today's award, there still are numerous steps to complete before DMEA can determine a construction timeline and begin construction.
“DMEA sets the standard for delivering affordable, high-speed internet in rural Colorado,” said U.S Senator Michael Bennet. “As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have consistently supported USDA’s ReConnect program to expand high-speed internet in rural communities. I am very pleased by ReConnect’s $13.8 million investment in DMEA to connect Coloradans across Delta, Montrose, and Gunnison counties. This new funding was possible thanks to the $65 billion we secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to connect every American to affordable, high-speed internet. This is what it means for rural America to invest in itself once again.
Residents in Montrose and Delta can determine if their home is located within either Reconnect grant area by visiting www.elevateinternet.com.
U.S Senator John Hickenlooper echoes Senator Bennet’s words, stating,
“We’re connecting every house in America to fast, affordable internet using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. For Montrose, that means DMEA is getting a $13.8 million grant to reach more Coloradans on the Western Slope.”
Delta-Montrose Electric Association is a member-owned rural electric cooperative. Located in southwest Colorado, DMEA provides safe, reliable, and affordable electric service to approximately 29,000 members, primarily in Montrose and Delta counties. DMEA is a progressive and forward-thinking electrical distribution cooperative dedicated to meeting the diverse energy needs of its members. Learn more at www.dmea.com.
Built by Delta-Montrose Electric Association, Elevate is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the electric cooperative. In 2016, Elevate began building a 100% fiber internet network in DMEA's local communities, bringing much-needed high-speed and reliable internet to rural Western Colorado. Today, Elevate provides access to multi-Gigabit internet to more than 20,000 DMEA members and serves more than 12,000 customers with the fastest and most reliable internet available. Service offerings include internet speeds starting at 150 Mbps up to 6 Gig, television, and home phone. Learn more or sign up for service at elevateinternet.com.