FREEDOM — Wyoming communications and broadband provider, Silver Star Communications, has received two grant awards from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to complete fiber optic projects.
The projects, which are for service from Jackson, through Moran and over Togwotee Pass, and from Jackson to Victor, Idaho, over Teton Pass, will significantly advance the broadband capabilities in that region, including Teton and Lincoln counties, as well as other Wyoming and Idaho communities, according to Allen Hoopes, president and CEO of Silver Star.
A primary criterion for award distribution was providing broadband services to key community entities, including but not limited to health clinics and hospitals, educational institutions, emergency services, local government agencies and communications providers.
Enabling crucial community anchors, such as St John’s Hospital, Teton County School District No. 1, the Jackson Fire Department, and Teton County’s EMS to connect with other hospitals, schools and emergency services throughout Wyoming is one of the greatest benefits of these projects.
Ron McCue, COO of Silver Star Communications, expressed gratitude to all who were involved, including Gov. Dave Freudenthal, in the beginning and for their ongoing support. McCue also recognized the 20-plus organizations that submitted letters of support on behalf of the projects.
The Broadband Stimulus funds, provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used to close gaps in two important fiber optic networks, connecting Jackson to the rest of Wyoming, and Wyoming’s independent network to Idaho’s independent network.
The first project, over Togwotee Pass, places 89 miles of fiber to complete a 960-mile existing statewide fiber network, connecting 11 counties and 26 municipalities. Creating this fiber loop will create broadband capabilities that are nonexistent, while increasing the reliability of all communications (landline, cellular and broadband) to Wyoming’s residents, especially benefiting Jackson and the immediate surrounding areas.
The second project, over Teton Pass, closes a 33-mile gap in an existing 159-mile fiber optic network, bringing comprehensive broadband services to five counties and directly benefiting Silver Star’s customers.
These projects are slated to be complete within three years.
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