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Connect Wyoming - Capital projects Fund

Connect Wyoming Purpose

The Wyoming Business Council wants to ensure that every citizen and business has access to affordable, reliable, and future-proof broadband. 

The Connect Wyoming program for the distribution of CPF funding will be focusing on the deployment of broadband infrastructure to bring access to high-quality internet service to homes, businesses, and communities.

Aligned with the U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) guidance, fiber-optic infrastructure will be the preferred solution as it provides a future-proof capital investment for bandwidth scalability as technology evolves with future bandwidth requirements. The program’s goal is to provide affordable universal access to reliable broadband services with a minimum of 100 Mbps upload and download speeds with low latency in the awarded areas.

On November 18, 2022, the FCC released its pre-production draft of its new broadband maps.  Maps that show the availability of high-speed Internet service are nothing new. The problem is that the FCC’s maps had previously relied on information that failed to paint the whole picture of who did and who did not have the internet. The FCC’s older maps collected data at the census block level, meaning that if a single home was served in a census block, the whole block would show up as served on our maps. The net result was maps that were overly optimistic, lacked location-specific information, and subsequently glossed over gaps in coverage. With these new maps, the FCC has integrated the information from broadband providers with hundreds of location-specific data sources, giving us a far more detailed and accurate picture of fixed broadband availability.


These improved maps will mean direct benefits for consumers. Users now have a one-stop-shop to search for their address and find information about which internet service providers claim to offer service at the location, the broadband technologies they offer, and the maximum download and upload speeds they advertise for each technology. The new maps will help policymakers more accurately target investments to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas and close the digital divide.  broadbandmap.fcc.gov. 

 

Connect Wyoming ARPA/CPF Application Awards as of December 13, 2023:

The U.S. Treasury launched the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund in 2021 and is funded by the American Rescue Plan which provides $10 billion for eligible governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID 19 public health emergency.

Governor Mark Gordon designated $75 million of the ARPA/CPF funding for broadband Infrastructure improvements across the state to ensure that Wyomingites have the ability to telework, learn from home and have access to telemedicine. The Wyoming Business Council Broadband Office was designated as the administrator of the funds.

On February 21, 2023, The Capital Projects Fund (CPF) for broadband infrastructure was approved by The Treasury to invest $70.5 million to expand broadband infrastructure in Wyoming. All projects must be completed by December 31, 2026.

The Connect Wyoming ARPA/CPF program was designed for the distribution of CPF funding, focusing on the deployment of broadband infrastructure to bring access to high-quality internet service to homes, businesses, and communities. Aligned with the U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund guidance, fiber-optic infrastructure is the preferred solution as it provides a future-proof capital investment for bandwidth scalability as technology evolves with future bandwidth requirements. The program’s goal is to provide affordable universal access to reliable broadband services with a minimum of 100 Mbps upload and download speeds with low latency in the awarded areas, focusing on broadband access to unserved and underserved areas, with all infrastructure to be installed, owned, and operated by the applicant.

Broadband providers were given the opportunity to submit applications for projects that would provide service to unserved and underserved locations and be scored based on three categories 1) Connecting Wyoming (the percent of unserved/underserved locations), 2) Proposed Solution (emphasizing fiber optic technology), 3) Project Readiness and Administration (cash match, permit/rights-of-way, timeline). The Wyoming Business Council received 116 applications totaling $413 million in total project costs, with $88 million in provider contribution, for a total grant request of $325 million.

CTC Technologies was retained by the Council as an independent non-biased consultant to review the applications and make a recommendation to the Council for the grant awards. Thirty-two applications are being awarded for funding totaling $70,499,575.08.

 Application Award Summary:

Elaina Zempel

Elaina Zempel

Broadband Manager

[email protected]

Mapping

To maximize the efficient use of broadband funding, the Wyoming Business Council conducted its own broadband mapping program with the support of LightBox, an experienced national data and mapping firm.  Wyoming’s Internet Service Providers are critical partners in this process and submitted  broadband coverage information to help us create a detailed broadband map.

You can access the Public Wyoming Broadband Availability Map Here: 

Internet Service Providers who provided data for the Wyoming Broadband Availability Map and approved grant applicants can access the Wyoming Broadband Grant/Application Tool (map) Here: Password Required

Wyoming Broadband Grant/Application Tool (map) Training Guide for ISP’s:

ISP Training Webinar

The Wyoming Business Council wants to ensure that every citizen and business has access to affordable, reliable, and future-proof broadband. 

To maximize the efficient use of broadband funding, the Business Council will be conducting its own broadband mapping program with the support of LightBox- an experienced national data and mapping firm.  Wyoming’s ISPs are critical partners in this process and submitting broadband coverage information will help us create a detailed broadband map and qualify you to apply for grants.

The data collection period officially kicked off on November 30th, with a short webinar hosted by LightBox and will conclude Midnight MST Friday January 13th, 2023 MST.  If you were unable to attend, the webinar is now available on this page.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have about participation in the Connect Wyoming program, or about the data submission process.

In response to recent provider feedback and to help alleviate some of the end of year stress, the Wyoming Business Council has decided to extend the original deadline (December 16th, 2022) for broadband data submissions for the Connect Wyoming program until Midnight MST Friday January 13th, 2023.

Access to the Wyoming Grant/Application Tool for eligible entities requires approval by the Wyoming Business Council.

To request access, email your company name, contact name, contact phone number and email to: [email protected]

Eligible entities include units of government (e.g., municipalities or counties), tribal governments, nonprofits, private entities, co-operatives, electric utilities, and other entities that build or operate broadband networks, including networks that are owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments.

Map Support Requests for Applicants and ISP's

Uploading/Downloading Data, Map, Etc.
WyomingISPCoordinator@lightboxre.com

General Inquiries
[email protected]
On November 18, 2022, the FCC released its new broadband maps. The FCC has integrated the information from broadband providers with hundreds of location-specific data sources.  FCC maps will help federal policymakers more accurately target investments to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas and close the digital divide. The FCC Maps are accessible to the public at broadbandmap.fcc.gov.

2024 ISP Data Submission

ISP Submission Webinar February 29, 2024

ISP Data Submission Guide for 2024

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )

Q: Why are submissions to the Lightbox Portal needed?:

  • A: LightBox is supporting the state to gather ISP data in support of their current BEAD program and ensure awareness of broadband coverage. This data will be used for analysis purposes by the state.

 

Q: Are we talking only about location addresses, etc. for the broadband fabric data base?

  • A: Please note the state is requesting address lists or boundary files from ISPs current to the month of March. As well, the LightBox data portal accepts both of these types of files.

 

Q: I uploaded mapping geojson files for Coverage Area data during the 1st data collection window in December 2022.  All of our locations currently have accurate service data on the Wyoming Broadband map.  Are we doing something new or additional now?

  • A: We are looking for your most current available data as of March 2024 to be utilized by the state as part of their BEAD analysis.
  • The LightBox data portal accepts coverage area data set in the format of ESRI shapefiles (.shp) or geodatabase (.gdb).  The portal does not currently accept the geojson file format.
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