Boise, ID (STL.News) The Idaho Broadband Task Force that Idaho Governor Brad Little assembled earlier this year has completed and submitted its recommendations and full report to improve broadband connectivity for communities and businesses across Idaho.
Governor Little signed an executive order in May establishing the task force. He directed the group to develop a plan to improve broadband access, speed, and infrastructure across Idaho. Over the past six months, the task force worked diligently to come up with actionable recommendations to improve broadband level connectivity in both rural and urban Idaho.
“In a data-driven society, connectivity is imperative for a vital economy. Improved broadband infrastructure ensures both urban and rural Idaho will be connected and well-positioned to attract business and enhance our citizens’ quality of life,” Governor Little said. “The task force members worked under an accelerated timeline to come up with the recommendations, and I appreciate them for their hard work.”
The task force’s recommendations include updating the state’s broadband plan for maximizing federal funds, establishing a state broadband office, formalizing “dig once and hang once” policies for substantially lowering investment costs, and some specific calls to action in some of the most under-served rural areas. Ongoing regional activities are also planned for the near term.
The Governor will review the recommendations and determine which ones will be included in his budget and policy recommendations for the 2020 legislative session.
“Broadband connectivity and high-speed internet are strategic and economic priorities for Idaho,” Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey said. “Our task force developed meaningful recommendations for Governor Little that will dramatically improve connectivity and service levels for communities, businesses and citizens across all of Idaho. We thank all task force members and those interested parties across Idaho that contributed to the recommendations for the Governor.”
The broadband task force is comprised of internet service providers, satellite providers, cellular providers, and other industry experts along with university, tribal, legislative, state, county and municipal representatives.