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Wyoming Business Council launches broadband mapping effort

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A Wyoming Business Council initiative is trying to map out which parts of the state have reliable high-speed internet access, and which do not.

The Broadband Mapping Initiative invites internet service providers and private Wyoming residents alike to test and report their internet speed. The initiative is run through Connect Wyoming, a program of the Wyoming Business Council.

The goal is to produce an accurate map detailing where broadband access exists and where it's currently lacking.

"There are still a lot of areas [in Wyoming] lacking broadband connectivity and the ability to really utilize the speeds that are required nowadays and to get the speeds that are required," said Josh Dorrell, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council.

Dorrell said Wyoming spent nearly $50 million of CARES Act funding to increase rural broadband access. Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan will help sustain that effort.

"Because we're so sparsely populated, it's really tough for those providers to make a business case to reach out to all of the homes in an area and have it pay itself back when there's only private money involved," Dorrell said.

He added the mapping initiative will help providers recognize new areas they could move into with help from ARPA funds. Applications for funding are now open for internet service providers looking to move into underserved and unserved areas.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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