January, 2023: Broadband Resources and News


Bringing you up-to-date telehealth information resources on the southwest region and the USA


Broadband Resources and News

Across the country, conversations on equity issues and the future of telehealth and telemedicine often puts broadband infrastructure at the top of the list. Internet access and computer literacy, especially in rural communities, is a needed component in growing telehealth access in homes and public community spaces.
  • In Arizona, the Tohono O’odham and Navajo nations recently received $17 million in federal grants to increase connectivity of businesses, schools, and farms to high-speed internet. The funding is part of the USDA’s ReConnect program. The Tohono O’odham Utility Authority plans to extend high speed internet through electric fiber optic cable installation. The Tohono O’odham Community College and the Diné College also received $5 million from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program to improve campus internet connectivity.
  • The Arizona Commerce Authority recently hired Sandip Bhowmick as its new State Assistant Broadband Director. Although grant applications are currently closed, in July the office announced 20 awardees receiving $100 million in broadband grants from around the state, with a majority of those being rural areas. In July, Gov. Doug Ducey’s office announced a $68.1 million broadband connectivity project along Interstate 40 West from Flagstaff to the California border.
  • In Colorado, the Colorado Broadband Fund through the Colorado Broadband Office provides grants to deploy broadband service in unserved areas of Colorado. Criteria asks that applicants have strong connections to larger broadband plans that are cost-effective; show a demonstrated benefit to area economic development, education, telehealth, libraries, and public safety; and have service speeds provided above the minimum of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. Application cycle is twice per year on January 15 and July 15.
  • In early December, the Colorado Broadband Office challenged data collected by the Federal Communications Commission that maps broadband access throughout the state, submitting 13,000 areas missing and preparing to add more locations. The FCC is asking others in the state to submit their current connectively experiences by Jan. 13, 2023. Go to Home | FCC National Broadband Map on your mobile device.
  • Nevada received more than $5 million in federal funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. The funds will go toward research and data collections, especially mapping out unserved and underserved locations; outreach and technical support; and developing a five-year action plan.
  • Nevada’s broadband office through the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology recently announced that $18 million was award to 11 tribal communities from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Although there are no current funding or RFPs for services at this time, the broadband office kicked off a digital equity planning process in October through a $754,458 Digital Equity Planning Grant from the US Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications, and Information Administrator as part of the state’s High Speed Nevada Initiative goal. The program is looking for citizens interested in being part of the process. You can fill out an interest form here.
  • U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan’s office wants New Mexicans to share their telehealth and broadband-related stories. Specifically, they want to know citizen barriers or successes they’ve experienced. Send telehealth barriers and success stories to: melanie_goodman@lujan.senate.gov
    See recording of Sen. Lujan regarding Telehealth in New Mexico here.
  • Last fall, New Mexico counties and the state’s broadband office asked residents to help identity unserved or underserved as part of the state’s challenge to the FCC connectivity map. For information on this process, as well as funding opportunities as part of the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program, go here. Funding applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The final application date is February 27, 2023.

The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center serves Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and the Four Corners Region. 

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Questions, comments, ideas?
Reach out to Mari Herreras at mherreras@telemedicine.arizona