The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors on Friday approved 37 projects totaling $86 million in federal CARES Act funding to help expand broadband infrastructure across the state.
According to a news release from Gov. Mark Gordon’s office, he and state legislators have worked to develop a broadband expansion initiative in response to the coronavirus crisis. The goal is to provide internet access in areas where there is little or no broadband so Wyomingites can access telehealth and tele-education or work remotely.
“This funding will help connect rural communities in Wyoming that may not have had the chance to get service otherwise,” Gordon said in the release. “Now, the people in Wyoming’s most rural communities will be able to access the essential services they need to cope with the effects of COVID-19, and to access the opportunities that high-speed internet provides for years to come.”
These projects will impact 15 counties and 54 communities.
A committee of WBC staff and board members, members of the state’s Broadband Advisory Council and governor’s staff members recommended applications that didn’t compete with existing providers who offer service speeds of at least 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload, as defined by Wyoming statute.
“The funds help communities that need it most and support projects in areas without adequate service,” Business Council Board member Erin Moore said. “This provides accessibility for our most rural communities, which is vital in these extraordinary circumstances.”