County awarded grant for broadband

By Erin McIntyre

Ouray County has a clear path to bringing large-scale broadband internet service to the area after receiving a federal grant announced last week and discussed briefly by commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.
The county will receive initial funding of $1.57 million for the first phase of the project, costing roughly $2.4 million, which involves building fiber from Montrose to the Ouray County Health Department building. The funding, secured through the Universal Service Administrative Company through its Healthcare Connect Fund Program, supports bringing better health care to rural areas through increased connectivity. The county’s matching portion of the grant will likely come from grants obtained through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and other sources still being determined, County Commissioner Ben Tisdel said.
The health department will own the broadband infrastructure, according to Tisdel. However, the management of the lines will likely be done through a communications contractor used by Region 10.
The total grant award is more double the initial amount, according to County Commissioner Ben Tisdel, spread out over a two-year period. According to the grant award, Clear Networx is the vendor providing the broadband.

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