Downtown Gets Broadband

Celebrating the arrival of broadband are (left to right): Dennis Ellis (Microsoft), Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr, Senator Tara Nethercott, Chamber Board Chairman Mike Williams (behind Mayor Orr and Senator Nethercott), Representative Dan Zwonitzer, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, Erik Rasmussen (Charter Communications), Jason Bryan (Charter Communications). 

Dignitaries from the area – including Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, joined Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr’s Broadband Task Force as they flipped the switch on and checked off a major accomplishment – free public Wi-Fi in the downtown district. This Broadband Task Force objective came to fruition Wednesday morning during a “Connecting” ceremony at the Depot Plaza.

This accomplishment was made possible due to a public-private partnership. In January 2019, Microsoft supplied a $150,000 donation to the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce Foundation with funds going towards the execution of public broadband access in the Cheyenne Depot Plaza. Charter Communications was then commissioned to install the broadband connectivity.

“Broadband has been a priority from the beginning of my administration and this public WiFi initiative shows we are making great strides on that front," Mayor Marian Orr said. "Like many other utilities, broadband access has evolved to become vital in how we live, work and play. I would like to thank everyone who played a role in turning this from an idea on paper into a reality. And what better time to unveil this public service than during Cheyenne Frontier Days. This is a great service that will benefit our residents as well as visitors who visit the core of our historic downtown”

Dennis Ellis, Microsoft TechSpark Wyoming Manager said “We are proud to celebrate the launch of the Depot Plaza Community WiFi system during Cheyenne Frontier Days along with our partners the City of Cheyenne, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, and Charter Communications who took Microsoft’s investment and helped bring it to life.” Ellis said Microsoft has a history of community investment as Cheyenne is home to one of its data centers and one of six TechSpark communities where the company is partnering on the local level to foster new economic opportunities. He said "Cheyenne is committed to creating a connected city and this free WiFi system that anyone can use to access the internet will make the Depot Plaza area an even more attractive destination for visitors, residents and the local businesses they support."

Microsoft supplied the Greater Cheyenne Foundation $150,000 to supply public broadband in January of 2019. The pilot project designated the Cheyenne Depot Plaza and the Cheyenne Depot Museum as the primary location for this initial launch. Charter Communications conducted the installation of the free WiFi during the last 6 months and completed the project ahead of schedule.

Todd Baxter, Charter Vice President of State Government Affairs said

“Charter appreciates the opportunity to partner with the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce for this launch of Spectrum WiFi which, following last year’s introduction of Spectrum Internet Gig, builds on our commitment to deliver the latest and greatest in connectivity to the residents and businesses of Cheyenne.”

During the announcement in January, Mayor Orr said “Thank you, Microsoft, for your investment into our community. I know this is just the beginning and how better to pilot this Wi-Fi project than at the Depot and then learn from that and take it into other areas of the community. What we really believe in is a public and private partnership. We don’t want this to be City owned. We want this to be a partnership.”

Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce contributed to this report.