The Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial support to a pair of bills focused on improving Wyoming’s economy. 

The bills would help bring high-speed broadband to more areas of the state and start to find ways to improve air service in Wyoming. Some House members were skeptical about the need to eventually spend $15 million on air service, but House Majority Leader David Miller told a few horror stories about getting major business leaders to Riverton. 

Miller said service gets canceled and flights are delayed on a consistent basis.

Marion Orr

An effort to pass legislation to help smaller communities get high-speed internet is getting pushback from those in the industry. Lobbyists presented a substitute bill presumably intended to keep communities from forming their own internet operations. 

Michael Coghlan via Flickr Creative Commons

A new report finds the Cowboy State is a national leader in classroom internet connectivity. Wyoming is one of just two states to earn a 100 percent connectivity rating in this month’s report from the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway.

That means each of Wyoming’s 48 school districts provides 100 kilobits of broadband per student, which is a goal set by the Federal Communications Commission last year.

Several remote communities in the state will be able to receive better internet service in the near future.  Visionary Communications has announced a plan to expand its fiber optic line to connect the towns of Chugwater, Guernsey, Pinedale and Torrington to the rest of the state. 

Governor Matt Mead says the future is bright for technology in Wyoming. At the first Wyoming Broadband Summit in Cheyenne today, Mead highlighted recent progress in improving Internet access across the state. In 2011, access to high speed downloads grew from 54-percent to 85-percent of the population, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Federal Communications Commission.

The Wyoming Business Council is conducting a survey to determine what parts of the state have inadequate Internet access.

Leah Bruscino is the Council’s northwest regional director. She says some rural areas have nothing but dial-up, and it’s hard to run a business that way.

“Mountain lodges that cater to, say, snowmobilers or summer trade – you know, obviously being tourism businesses, they’d like to have rich, vibrant sites and be able to send clients nice, rich information.,” says Bruscino. “That’s a challenge.”