DMEA Awarded $10.5 Million in USDA Broadband Grants

August 11, 2021

Funds will allow Elevate to extend fiber network to another 6,877 member owners

August 11, 2021 — Just this morning, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a division of USDA, Reconnect Program awarded more than $10.5 Million in grants to DMEA to help construct its network in two out-of-the-way places within Montrose and Delta counties.
“The Delta Montrose Electric Association has set the standard for delivering ultra-fast, affordable broadband in rural America and demonstrated that we do not have to accept a lower broadband standard for rural communities,” said U.S Senator Michael Bennet. “Yesterday, the Senate passed the largest ever broadband investment in American history. I’m gratified that the bill’s broadband provisions were largely based off of my bipartisan BRIDGE Act, which was inspired by the tremendous work DMEA has done to deliver world-class broadband. This USDA investment will go a long way to help DMEA expand its network to provide more Coloradans with high-speed internet.”
This project will build approximately 261 miles of new mainline fiber connecting 2,410 households, 3 educational facilities, 89 businesses, and 115 farms. These grants make it possible for DMEA, in conjunction with Elevate Internet, to provide symmetrical Gigabit speeds to another 6,877 folks across its rural service territory.
DMEA’s Chief Technology Officer, Kent Blackwell, expressed “This is a great day for DMEA and its members. With these grant funds, a huge area for our membership now has light at the end of the tunnel, bringing with it enormous opportunities for our rural farming communities. These areas can now look forward to having a digital opportunity that has, until now, typically only been available to urban communities.  This is a Great Day!”
The advanced network that DMEA and Elevate is constructing is a 100% fiber optic network, a truly future proof network that will solve the digital divide for these homes and businesses for 50 years or more.
In addition to its future proof network, Elevate is focused on its reputation and customer loyalty.  Net Promoter Scores (NPS), are the best way for companies like DMEA and Elevate to measure their success in customer satisfaction.  Elevate measures its NPS on a regular basis, asking each new customer to complete a satisfaction survey, and annually asking its customers to reassess their happiness with the service.  Elevate’s second quarter 2021 report was just received last week and it can again boast of industry leading results after achieving an 89.4 NPS score, which is exponentially higher than the national average.  
“Elevate is truly focused on its membership, we are driven every day to find sources of funding to make these network extensions happen in financially responsible ways.  Equally we work hard to get this solution to every member that needs and deserves it.  It is not an easy task, but unlike our competitors that are driven by profits and margins, Elevate is truly driven by customer satisfaction.  So to have an announcement from the USDA like this is ten-million reasons to be happy for our members,” said Blackwell.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis shares in Blackwell’s enthusiasm. “Expanding connectivity to some of the most underserved parts of rural western Colorado is key to powering Colorado’s economic recovery and building infrastructure for the future,” said Polis. “I am pleased that this grant will enable more Coloradans to receive better, faster access and I wanted to thank all involved for their efforts.”

While there are still numerous steps left before Elevate can schedule its first internet install, rural citizens across the Pea Green and east Delta areas can take comfort knowing they are now one step closer to a modern internet connection and increased access to online education, telework, and aging in place opportunities.