Charter heads $70.5M fiber fund in Wyoming

Wyoming is set to allocate $70.5 million among 32 projects aimed at expanding broadband infrastructure throughout the state, announced Governor Mark Gordon this week. The lion's share, amounting to almost $21 million, was awarded to Charter Communications.

In total, Charter will reach over 7,000 locations through ten separate projects. The company will match its CPF grants with over $20 million, according to a document provided to Fierce Telecom by the Wyoming Business Council.

Gordon called the funding, which will come from the federal Capital Projects Fund (CPF), “the single-largest broadband investment in Wyoming history.”

The CPF was launched in 2021, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), distributing $10 billion for eligible governments to build work, education and health infrastructure.

Wyoming’s CPF money will go toward bringing more than 15,000 underserved and unserved locations a minimum of 100 Mbps upload and download internet speeds.

Visionary Broadband received over $18 million across 15 successful project applications. Celerity Networks had only one application awarded, but still received over $16 million for its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project in Eastern Crook County.

In fact, all the CPF applications that received grants in Wyoming are for FTTH and fiber to business projects.

The Wyoming Business Council Broadband Office, administrator of the CPF money, in an announcement said fiber-optic infrastructure is the “preferred solution, providing future-proof capital investment for bandwidth scalability as technology evolves with future bandwidth requirements.” The council noted that a preference for fiber is aligned with the U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund guidance.

Rounding out the list of CPF awardees in Wyoming are Range Telephone Cooperative, with around $1.2 million for one application, and Tri County Telephone Association, which won about $13.7 million for five fiber projects.

All projects must be completed by December 31, 2026. The Wyoming Business Council said it received 116 applications totaling $413 million in project costs, with $88 million in provider contributions, for a total grant request of $325 million.