A new report by experts on broadband access in rural America says communities without it will be economically crippled. 5-percent of communities in Wyoming have access rated below the F-C-C "minimum standard" that from data collected by SpeedMatters.org.

Dr. Sharon Strover of the University of Texas put together the new report about what that means for rural areas.

"If you've ever tried to pull up a graphic image on a dial-up connection, you are waiting for a really long time. That means that in order to do something as simple as ordering a part, you are at just a huge disadvantage."

Dr. Strover says there are some encouraging signs.

"I believe that the FCC and other federal agencies are taking this far more seriously than they ever did. The money that the stimulus funding pumped into broadband should help."

The F-C-C is expected to report this year - as it did last year - that broadband providers are not expanding their services in a timely and satisfactory fashion.

The report by the Center for Rural Strategies says having fast online access may not mean a sharp increase in jobs in a region, but not having it will probably mean fewer jobs. Wyoming is ranked 49th in the nation for online access speeds.

Wyoming News Service