Colorado Broadband Technical Conference

The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has created a new sense of urgency around spurring broadband deployment and adoption. In this Technical Conference, we will discuss Colorado’s broadband mapping initiative as well as our broadband stimulus efforts.

Tags: Technology Policy

Sponsored by:

  • Governor’s Office of Information Technology
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade
  • Colorado Department of Local Affairs
  • Colorado Innovation Council
  • Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
  • School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver

The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has created a new sense of urgency around spurring broadband deployment and adoption. In particular, ARRA calls for an investment of $7.2 billion in broadband programs, requiring the NTIA to award $4.7 billion in grants and RUS to award $2.5 billion in grants and loans over the next 18 months. Given Colorado’s ongoing broadband initiative, our State is well-positioned to make the most of this opportunity.

In this Technical Conference, we will discuss Colorado’s broadband mapping initiative as well as our broadband stimulus efforts. This all-day conference will include morning sessions that will focus on: the Colorado mapping project, the Colorado strategy for producing the best possible results through broadband deployment grants and loans, and opportunities around innovative adoption programs. These sessions will be designed both to share the thoughts of Colorado policymakers and elicit valuable feedback. To maximize the opportunities for brainstorming, we will hold a series of working groups/breakout sessions in the afternoon, discussing the specific topics of:

  • Infrastructure grants;
  • The nature of the mapping initiative (including data collection, on-the-ground engagement, and the upgradeable online interactive map);
  • Adoption program opportunities;
  • Availability of affordable backhaul to facilitate broadband access; and
  • Barriers to providing service.


Overview: The ability of the State to apply for infrastructure grants that it can, in turn, offer for competitive bid to serve unserved areas

Facilitators: Lynn Notarianni, Telecom Section Chief, Colorado PUC, and Phil Weiser, Co-Chair Colorado Innovation Council and Executive Director, Silicon Flatirons Center.

Description: This group will discuss the recommended strategy of having the State of Colorado apply directly, through the Office of Information Technology, for a grant to facilitate deployment of broadband in unserved areas in Colorado. This application would ensure that the ongoing mapping initiative could be completed (in early fall) before the areas for subsidy were identified and grants to local providers were selected. In principle, this approach would enable Colorado to encourage a competitive bidding model for selected un-served areas, make “apples-to-apples” comparisons between alternative providers, and ensure that smaller providers had every opportunity to compete for the available subsidy. It would also enable the State, which is closer to the relevant population than NTIA, to oversee the management of the grant and remove that burden from the NTIA. To be sure, this approach also raises a series of questions that must be answered–(1) what would be the essential structure of the State’s application; (2) how can this effort co-exist most effectively with grant applications from private firms and the recommended strategy of supporting and scoring their applications; and (3) what steps would the State need to take to make sure that this model operated effectively in practice. In this breakout session, we will discuss the above points, including the essential premises behind this recommended approach, evaluate the best way to implement in practice if Colorado goes forward with this strategy, and examine any potential concerns about this approach and how they might be addressed.


Overview: The State’s envisioned role for giving feedback on and scoring private sector applications.

Facilitators: John D. Conley – Deputy Chief Information Officer

Description: The ARRA allows private corporations to apply directly to the granting agencies (National Telecommunications and Information Administration & Rural Utilities Service) to receive a grant award. To enable the NTIA and RUS to better evaluate applications from Colorado, Colorado plans to score each application, facilitating a coordinated and prioritized model for pursuing these grants. On the provider side of the equation, Colorado is interested in supporting all applicants by providing such scores on a requested basis and as part of giving applicants feedback on draft applications. During this breakout session, a proposed scoring template will be reviewed along with a discussion on the rationale behind each criterion. Moreover, the group will be in a position to develop new ideas on how the State can play a constructive role in this process.


Overview: Colorado Mapping Project

Facilitators: Dara Hessee, Legislative Liaison and Director of Special Projects, Governor’s Office of Information Technology, and Jon Gottsegen, State GIS Coordinator

Description: This group will focus on the Colorado Mapping Project, a joint effort by the Office of Information Technology and the Governor’s Innovation Council to map Colorado’s existing broadband infrastructure as a means of evaluating where in the state residents cannot access broadband. The maps will provide policymakers with the information needed to develop effective strategies around broadband deployment and adoption. Project planning is underway, and this session is intended to provide information on project objectives (e.g., data collection, on-the-ground engagement, and the upgradeable online interactive map) and to introduce our selected broadband mapping vendor.

Further, we’d like to use this opportunity to gather information from participants on their “broadband footprints” in Colorado. Our primary goal is to get a sense for where the broadband coverage gaps are in Colorado, what data sources are available, and which carriers are providing broadband within our borders. This will both kick off our mapping project and help inform ARRA grant writing activities. Therefore, we ask participants to please bring as detailed of information as possible that you have and are willing to share to the Broadband Technical Conference and, specifically, this breakout discussion. Among other things, we are hoping to collect the following:

  • A copy of your Form 477 that was recently submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Coverage maps
  • Other publically-available information on broadband service areas, backhaul, etc.
  • Identification of carriers in the state
  • Suggestions on other data and information sources that would help guide our project work

Finally, to the extent that providers, citizens, or other affected parties have any concerns about how this process might be conducted, we will use this opportunity to discuss those issues.


Overview: The ability of the State or Public/Private entities to apply for grants related to community resource centers and adoption programs.

Facilitators: Jim Alexander, Principal Architect Tandberg TV, and Cathy Fogler, Co-Chair Broadband Taskforce

Description: The objective of this discussion is to look at ways broadband can be encouraged in a bottom-up as well as a top-down way, and to analyze how the stimulus bill directly and indirectly helps these kinds of efforts.

This group will discuss strategies and tactics related to the NTIA set-aside funds of $200 million for expanding computer center capacity and $250 million for developing and maintaining sustainable adoption programs. The discussion will focus on methods of encouraging consumer demand (such as educating consumers as to broadband applications), and aggregating consumer demand to make infrastructure development more feasible. Different states and countries have used different models for encouraging broadband uptake; the discussion will briefly touch on these different approaches, while focusing on Colorado’s options. We will also touch on the availability of grants to fund community computing centers, and what can be done to help smaller organizations that could make good use of those dollars apply for them.

Suggested readings:


Overview: Concerns About the Availability of Affordable Backhaul

Facilitators: Dale Hatfield, Adjunct Professor of Telecommunications at the University of Colorado

Description: Many analysts have argued that the lack of affordable backhaul facilities/services is often a major factor in preventing the deployment of broadband services in unserved or underserved areas. Generally speaking backhaul facilities are associated with carrying broadband traffic between a local access node (which serves end user customers using wireless for the “last mile” for example) and high capacity backbone networks, e.g., those associated with the Internet. The access node is sometimes known as the first point of traffic concentration. The purpose of this breakout session is (1) to gain a better understanding of the extent and scope of the backhaul problem in Colorado, (2) identify potential solutions to backhaul problem, (3) provide some preliminary analysis of advantages and disadvantages of those solutions in both economic and technical terms and (4) to develop specific recommendations on how the State of Colorado might facilitate appropriate solutions to the backhaul problem working through the NTIA/RUS grant programs established by the ARRA.


Introductions and Welcome
  • Paul Teske
    Dean, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver
  • John Conley
    Deputy Chief Information Officer, State of Colorado
The Broadband Opportunity under ARRA and the State Role
  • John Conley
    Deputy Chief Information Officer, State of Colorado
Update on the Colorado Mapping Initiative
  • Cathy Fogler
    Co-Chair, Broadband Taskforce of the Innovation Council
  • Jon Gottsegen
    Colorado GIS Coordinator
  • Dara Hessee
    Legislative Liaison, Office of Information Technology
  • Chip Spann
    Connected Nation

The Public Policy Perspective on the Broadband Opportunity
  • Don Elliman
    Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Michael Locatis
    Chief Information Officer, State of Colorado
  • Susan Kirkpatrick
    Executive Director, Department of Local Affairs
  • Ron Binz
    Chairman, Colorado Public Utilities Commission
Mid-Morning Keynote Address
  • Gail Schwartz
    Colorado State Senator
  • Larry Liston
    Colorado State Representative
  • Jim Riesberg
    Colorado State Representative

Breakout Session #1


Breakout Session #2


Breakout Session #3

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