Staying ahead of rapidly evolving technology will be a key theme at the fifth annual Wyoming Governor’s Broadband Summit Oct. 4-5 at the Little America Convention Center in Cheyenne.
The two-day conference brings together tech professionals from around the state to build relationships and consider new approaches to making technology the fourth leg of Wyoming’s economy.
A keynote speech by Rick Bakken, senior director of data center evangelism at Microsoft, begins the event Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. A panel discussion on the relentless change of pace within the IT industry, and what information technology specialists have to do to stay ahead of that change, will follow.
During the first day Gov. Matt Mead will share his vision for Wyoming’s future. There will also be a networking reception that evening bringing together the many brilliant minds in service to our State.
“The big thing is getting vendors and the largest consumers together. We all benefit from the opportunity to bring challenges and solutions into the same room” said Meredith Bickell, state deputy chief information officer for the Wyoming Department of Enterprise Technology Services. “Networking is critical in both contexts.”
The Broadband Summit has grown each year since it was founded in 2012. Last year, 250 people attended.
Panelists the next day will talk about how Wyoming can prevent and respond to cyber threats, and how we balance security with connectivity. Other discussions will include how to continue improving quality of life in communities through the Unified Network.
The Unified Network is Wyoming’s broadband backbone, a piece of infrastructure as vital as the interstate system.
The $15.8 million initiative has boosted capacity 4,000 percent and made the system more reliable. Through the Unified Network, the state acted as an anchor tenant, paying regional internet service providers to run high-speed cables to schools and government agencies. That initial investment will make it easier for those companies to expand the same service throughout each community.
“Gov. Mead challenged us to make Wyoming a leader in broadband connectivity,” said Michael Kenney, general manager of Dubois Telephone. “Public-private partnerships likes the interstate right-of-way and the Unified Network ensures the future success of our schools, our medical facilities, our businesses and our communities.”
The benefit of better technology in Wyoming schools is a key feature of the governor’s technology initiatives.
Students can now use tools like electronic textbooks, online videos, livestreaming events and more, said Troy Babbitt, broadband enterprise architect at the Department of Enterprise Technology Services.
Wyoming is one of only two states with 100 percent connectivity to all its schools.
Improved internet access and speeds will also benefit businesses and local governments as service providers expand the system. Police and fire departments will be able to respond faster, entrepreneurs will begin to access new markets and hospitals will have new tools to treat patients more effectively, even in rural areas.
“By delivering advanced broadband services, our industry has improved lives, strengthened businesses and connected communities in Wyoming,” said David Johnson, area operations manager with Wyoming CenturyLink.
Technology is a great equalizer for rural states like Wyoming. The advance of faster speeds and wider access is improving the quality of life in the Cowboy State, Babbitt explained.
“Broadband is recognized as an essential utility for the general public and for private businesses,” Babbitt said. “It gives Wyoming citizens the opportunity to compete on a global stage.”
The registration deadline is Sept. 19. Visit http://broadbandsummit.wyo.gov/ to sign up.