Idaho Capitol

Idaho Capitol

Gov. Brad Little on May 23 signed an executive order creating the Idaho Broadband Task Force to work on improving connectivity and internet infrastructure across the state.

The effort could impact ranchers, timber operators, farmers and rural residents who experience coverage gaps and slow internet service for reasons such as topography or long distances between population centers. The group plans to meet four times before October and provide a final report to the governor in November.

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,” Little said in a news release.

He appointed state Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey as chairman.

The task force, to map existing services and identify coverage gaps, “intends to directly address connectivity gaps and low-speed service,” Kealey said, “and provide recommendations to the governor that will allow Idaho citizens, businesses and communities to continue on a trajectory of success.”

The task force includes government officials; internet, satellite and cellular providers; and representatives from industry, universities, tribes and municipalities.

On it are state Reps. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, and Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, and state Sens. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Carl Crabtree, R-Grangeville.

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