Wyoming Gets $347 Million for Rural Broadband Internet Upgrades
Written by Andrew-Rossi on June 28, 2023
While Wyoming thrives on its rural heritage, it can be a liability as much as an asset when it comes to communication and information. Thanks to another influx of federal money, the Equality State will be more connected than ever.
On June 26, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (N.T.I.A.) announced the allocation of over $42 billion to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories to deploy affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service. This is part of the “Internet for All” initiative – a key component of President Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda.
“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed Internet service now – you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good-paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”
The $42.45 billion was allocated through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (B.E.A.D.) program, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The states, D.C., and territories will use their allocated funds to administer grant programs within their borders.
Wyoming will receive a grant allocation of $347,877,921. This money will help provide and upgrade rural broadband service throughout the state.
Texas gets the largest allocation through the B.E.A.D. program, with over $3.3 billion. Wyoming’s northern and southern neighbors, Montana and Colorado, will receive nearly $629 million and $826.5 million, respectively.
The Biden Administration has fostered several federal grant programs focusing on expanding internet service. In September 2022, U.S.D.A. Rural Development Wyoming State Director Glenn Pauley announced a $9.59 million ReConnect grant to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in the Bighorn Basin. Cody’s Tri County Telephone Association Inc. will use the funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network connecting 204 people, 15 businesses, and 19 agricultural operations to high-speed internet in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, Sheridan, and Washakie counties.
When the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in November 2021, the Wyoming Democratic Party released a statement breaking down the possible uses of the anticipated $2.2 billion Wyoming would receive through the legislation:
- $1.8 billion to improve highways
- $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs
- $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the 48,000 Wyoming residents without broadband access
- $14 million to protect against wildfires
- Approximately $72 million for airport infrastructure development
Other federal funds could be allocated toward abandoned mine reclamation, infrastructure weatherization improvements, and nationwide port and airport upgrades to improve supply chain logistics.