(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Colorado State University Pueblo (CSU Pueblo) has been awarded a nearly $3 million grant to expand high-speed internet access.

On Monday, Feb. 27, CSU Pueblo was awarded $2,000,023 from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC), which is run by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA said this is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative.  

According to NTIA, CSU Pueblo is one of 61 minority-serving colleges and universities that received grants on Monday totaling $175 million. The university’s “Adelante Connect” project aims to connect Pueblo residents to the internet and engage them with “the knowledge economy,” said the NTIA.

“The purpose of the pilot project is to achieve an improved sense of digital equity, inclusion, and literacy, while building broadband awareness and providing broadband solutions amongst in-need students, families, and organizations within the Pueblo anchor communities,” reads a press release form the NTIA.

The project will consist of two phases:

Phase One

  • Digital ecosystem assessment
  • Enhance the broadband capacity of CSU Pueblo Watertower Place Downtown Campus
  • Develop and implement an Adelante Connect Digital Marketing Messaging and Advocacy strategy and staff a Digital Communication Office to support the digital marketing and messaging efforts needed for program success
  • Distribute laptops and subsidized internet service to students within anchor communities
  • Staff Digital Navigators in four anchor community locations
  • Implement a robust, reliable broadband connection (minimum speed 100/20 mbps) for identified students to be fully funded through the duration of the program

Phase Two

The NTIA said the second phase of the program will launch the Digital Navigator Program in the remaining fifteen eligible areas of the City of Pueblo and Pueblo County, including Avondale and Boone, and incorporate the healthcare sector in the Digital Navigator Program. 

“We are continuing to make bold progress towards our goal to connect 99% of Coloradans with affordable, high-speed broadband and this new funding for Colorado State University-Pueblo builds upon this important work,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polics. “Pueblo is a thriving Colorado city with vibrant business, education, and culture as well as home to our state fair, and we welcome this federal recognition and support of the great work happening in Pueblo every day. A reliable internet connection is critical for Coloradans, especially our students, and CSU Pueblo’s innovative program takes bold strides to make sure that students have internet access they can count on to power their studies and lives.”