MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KREX)—

Mesa County is encouraging residents to help update the FCC’s broadband map in hopes of getting federal dollars and getting better internet for some of its more secluded homes. 2020 identified a need for improved access to high-speed internet. This is why it is one of the goals of Mesa County’s recent needs assessment. The County is still analyzing those results internally but hopes to release them early next year. They told us they hope it will be, “A roadmap of where we’re at and where we need to be and what’s it going to cost and how we identify those funds, all those things.”

But that assessment is only one piece of improving broadband access, particularly for unincorporated Mesa County. For another, county officials are encouraging people to contribute to the FCC’s broadband map. Commissioner Davis told us, “To go to that website and identify what the needs are. If your broadband is great you’re not gonna go to that website and fill it out cause you don’t have the need but if you don’t have great service or you’ve only got one selection for a provider we want everyone to go on that website and put in their information because the better data that we have on the ground the better resources we can go after.”

With residents providing feedback that map gives the federal government a more accurate idea of the needs of mesa county which also opens the door to grants and other government dollars. Commissioner Davis said, “the goal for the future is to get as much federal funding as we can to put in carrier-neutral locations which are basically where you plug into the internet. So the private providers can plug in and plug in there and take it out to the community for that last mile. They can invest in that last mile because they can justify the expenditure on the return they’ll get but to add that mainline they can’t justify it it’s just too big of a hurdle, so that’s why we’re trying to hunt those dollars so that it makes sense to invest in mesa county.”

To contribute to that map just type in your address and if the availability it claims doesn’t look right to you just click challenge and update the information. This map will help to determine the county’s share of a more than 40-billion-dollar broadband investment from the federal broadband equity, access, and deployment (bead) program. Go here to update the map, Home | FCC National Broadband Map