Planting Seeds of Prosperity: How to Bring the Internet to Your Town

By: Eric Hager 

As the current health crisis forces many employees to work from home and shifted many students out of their classrooms and into remote learning environments having access to fast, reliable internet has become even more vital for families across America.  

How Fast, Reliable Internet Plants Encourages Economic Growth 

The internet has been a vital resource for many years now, connecting Americans with remote work opportunities, virtual learning opportunities, and (more recently), a great way to stay connected to friends and loved ones while staying physically distanced. 

For many Americans, particularly those in small towns, the internet offers a lifeline to the wider world. Remote work opportunities allow American workers to access high-quality jobs around the world without the need to relocate their families. Online continuing education opportunities allow anyone to expand their skill set and knowledge regardless of where they are physically located. Both of these opportunities help plant seeds of prosperity, allowing small towns to flourish and grow1 while simultaneously injecting funds into the local economy. 

A fast, reliable internet connection also gives smalltown residents access to lifesaving health services2granting them access to the tools and knowledge they need to keep themselves and their families healthy.  

What Can I Do to Help Bring the Internet to My Town? 

There are several steps you can take as an individual to help bring the internet to your town.  

Talk to Your Local Government 

You can begin by connecting with your local and county officials and asking what steps they are currently taking to improve connectivity for their constituents.  

Depending on their current plan, you can also direct their attention to state broadband funding programs such as the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Broadband Program. Colorado’s DOLA Broadband Program is designed to offer funding and support to local governments, allowing them to improve broadband service for their constituents and promote community and economic development by improving access to remote work opportunities, distance learning opportunities, and telemedical services. 

Contact Your DOLA Regional Manager 

You can also contact your DOLA Regional Manager to learn more about what efforts are currently underway to bring reliable, high-speed internet to your community. You can find out who your area’s regional manager is here. 

Success Story: Red Cliff, Colorado 

Since 1995, FORETHOUGHT has been doing our part to bridge the digital divide and bring affordable, high-speed internet to communities across Colorado and northern New Mexico. 

One community that has taken advantage of the DOLA Broadband Program, as well as accessed funding through other broadband state grant programs, is Red Cliff, Colorado, a small rural community of 345 residents.   

Red Cliff residents didn’t have access to reliable, high-speed internet until 2017, when the FORETHOUGHT team partnered with local government officials to bring high-speed broadband internet to residences in the community. With help from FORETHOUGHT, the town’s Board of Trustees were able to access the funds they needed for the project. The next step involved the town and FORETHOUGHT partnering with Century Link, who provided the necessary fiber optic cabling, and the U.S. Forest Service to turn the project into a reality. By working together, these groups were able to bring high-speed broadband internet to residential customers in Red Cliff.   

For more information about the benefits of broadband or to inquire about current broadband availability in your community, please contact our team today.