Governor Mead Says Technology Has A Bright Future In Wyoming
Governor Matt Mead addressed attendees of the first Wyoming Broadband Summit today. Over 200 people attended the event in Cheyenne, which the Governor, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, the Wyoming Business Council and LINK Wyoming co-sponsored.
Governor Mead gave the keynote address at the summit and told the crowd that he sees a bright future for technology in Wyoming. He added that when people talk about the key sectors of the economy, technology will be mentioned with energy, tourism, agriculture and small business. But, he said connectivity to the internet is critical to Wyoming’s success.
“Particularly in a rural state, the ability to communicate through broadband is an equalizer, bringing tele-medicine, tele-education and tele-commuting to small towns,”
The state has seen some success in the last two years. The most recent National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Federal Communications Commission map showed access to high speed downloads in Wyoming moved from 54% to 85% of the population. Governor Mead also pointed to successful public-private partnerships. In 2011 CenturyLink and Wyoming teamed up to bring Ethernet broadband to schools in 13 new communities. This also meant broadband connections were available to private businesses in those cities. Since then CenturyLink brought broadband to another seven cities.
Wyoming also joined with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to build a supercomputer near Cheyenne. In 2012 Microsoft announced it would build a data center in Wyoming, using an incentive program Governor Mead created with the State Legislature.
“The new railroad, the new interstate – in this country and in this state – is connectivity, We do not know where the next great idea will come from. But, we know that there are individuals with great minds and vision in Wyoming and if they have broadband, if they have connectivity and they can reach a global market then who knows what their future will hold and what the future will hold for Wyoming.”
Those in attendance were asked to give feedback about what more the State of Wyoming might do to better support a growing technology sector. Governor Mead mentioned he is already working to help give fiber optic companies rights of way along existing highways in Wyoming to help in their efforts to expand infrastructure in Wyoming.