“The new railroad, the new interstate, the new road system in this country and in this state is (Internet) connectivity.” (WTE)
Governor Matt Mead opened the inaugural Wyoming Broadband Summit with keynote remarks before over 200 policy wonks, technology geeks and interested bystanders gathered in Cheyenne Tuesday morning. Wyoming Enterprise Technology Services and the Wyoming Business Council assembled panels with local broadband providers and users, complimented by industry leaders from Microsoft and Google, for an interesting day assessing the balance sheet of broadband in the Cowboy State.
Referring to his sons, Mead noted that young people today don’t view high-speed Internet access as a luxury, but “something like plumbing” necessary for normal life. (WBR)
Most of the formal presentations stayed up at the 40,000-foot level looking down very generally on broadband implementation and policy in the state. I don’t think anybody learned anything about the industry they didn’t already know… but that wasn’t the point. I saw a lot of business cards trading across tables. This was a networking event for people who have been too busy doing to take a break and connect. The event was really tight and could have used more white space for networking.
“You could just get them in there and close the doors and leave and it would be a success,” said Mead, the summit’s keynote speaker. “You don’t hardly even need an agenda because I think that’s something that’s needed.” (CST)
As a local planner, I’m interested in broadband as essential infrastructure, just like water and sewer, streets, electricity and natural gas. Some essential services are provided by the public sector, others by private utilities, but they must be provided for future growth and development. Also, within the State Broadband Framework, we can always improve how ordinances and policies encourage—or at least don’t discourage—cost-effective provision of utilities.
“Just because it is a small place with a town of about 100, that doesn’t mean it can’t grow or that there aren’t people there who have great opportunities or a vision in terms of their own businesses” (WTE)
There are costs and benefits to any investment in infrastructure. I would guess 200+ people have a better idea now how Wyoming’s broadband balance sheet balances out.