Schoenfeld Appointed to Wyoming Broadband Task Force

Schoenfeld Appointed to Wyoming Broadband Task Force

ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs resident Lauren Schoenfeld was recently appointed by Governor Mark Gordon to the Wyoming Broadband Task Force. 

Schoenfeld, who was appointed on May 27, joins three representatives from the Wyoming House of Representatives, three from the Wyoming Senate, and two other governor appointees. 

“I am honored with the opportunity to be one of the three appointees from the governor,” Schoenfeld said. “I am looking forward to bringing Sweetwater County to the forefront of the discussions and continuing to make our communities and our state the best we can be.”

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While Schoenfeld is new to the task force, she has served on the Wyoming Broadband Advisory Council since 2018 and will continue to serve as its chairman. Even though the two entities are separate, they are definitely connected, she said.

“The legislative task force is planning on using the work that the (Wyoming) Broadband Council has put in for almost two years to bring forth more guidance, legislation and funding towards the broadband efforts throughout the state,” she said.

The newly developed task force, which has its first meeting today, was requested by the legislative management committee and developed due to the importance of technology and connectivity during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, she said.

“With children learning from home, the need for healthcare access, and people telecommuting from around the state it was easier to define the need and to identify the gaps in connectivity,” she said.

The task force will focus on developing legislation to springboard the broadband development efforts throughout the state. 

“Any strides we can make toward improving our rural connectivity will be a huge positive for our state,” Schoenfeld said. “I think it is important for Sweetwater County to be at the table for the development of such a monumental task.”

About The Wyoming Broadband Advisory Council

According to the Wyoming Business Council’s website, the Broadband Council’s goal is “access to high-quality business and residential broadband is essential to developing, growing and attracting businesses, improving academic performance, supporting healthcare, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting investment, educating the workforce of the future, quality of life, and improving Wyoming’s position as a global competitor.” 

“During the 2018 legislative session, Governor Matt Mead signed into law SEA No. 0036, which handed the (Wyoming) Business Council new tools to fulfill that mission,” the website states. “The law provided $10 million to establish a broadband infrastructure grant fund and $350,000 to establish a broadband coordinator position at the Business Council and a Broadband Advisory Council to oversee the agency’s efforts.”

“Once this was completed, we continued to meet to assist the broadband manager in getting things like the speed map and the grant application moving forward along with assisting in setting goals and planning throughout the state,” Schoenfeld said. “We are currently working on some short and long-term goals to help rural Wyoming be connected for our small businesses, ranchers, education system, healthcare system, underprivileged and high risk populations.”