Parts of the sparsely populated San Luis Valley have the worst high-speed internet service in the country, according to a recent report.

(Flickr User Ken Lund)

Gov. John Hickenlooper has set 2020 as the deadline for all of Colorado to have access to high-speed internet — but the man who's been appointed to make that happen says it's a tough goal to meet.

Tony Neal-Graves, who directs the state's broadband office, says the lack of service in especially acute in rural areas where, by the state's estimate about one in five residents lacks high-speed internet. The problems are especially acute because the population is spread over a wide area, geography can make construction difficult, and private companies won't see a return on investment.

Neal-Graves told Colorado Matters it's time for government to step in with financial support.

Read More: The Worst Internet In America Is In Saguache County, Colorado (via 583)