Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s focus on growing a technology sector as a means of economic diversity is showing rapid results.
Microsoft alone has made a nearly $500 million investment in Cheyenne the past two years including three data centers built in two phases at the North Range Business Park and a zero-carbon, waste-to-energy-powered data plant fuel cell research and development project at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility southeast of the city.
The state has evolving technology clusters including those in the southeast (Cheyenne-Laramie), Jackson and Sheridan.
Efforts to keep Wyoming graduates in-state with good-paying tech jobs received a major boost in June when Underwriters Laboratories opened a technology office in Laramie. UL is currently housing its Laramie IT office in the Wyoming Technology Business Center on the University of Wyoming campus while awaiting construction of a new building at the 126-acre Cirrus Sky Technology Business Park.
A number of incentives exist for technology-based companies: The Wyoming Business Council’s Managed Data Center Cost Reduction Grant, the Governor’s Data Center Recruitment Fund, the Business Council’s Business Ready Community program and the state’s data center sales tax exemption.
Other benefits include no corporate or personal state income taxes and workforce development training funds. The Tax Foundation named Wyoming No. 1 in its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index and Pollina ranked Wyoming No. 2 in its 2014 Top 10 Pro Business Rankings.
Wyoming’s digital industry recruitment, start-up and expansion efforts are further enhanced by the state’s emphasis on broadband expansion.
The Wyoming Legislature last winter approved Governor Mead’s funding request for a $15.7 million, 100-gigabit broadband unified network comprised of northern and southern Wyoming and the Cheyenne-to-Laramie corridor. The network will feature redundant routers at hubs that can tolerate local outages by rerouting data traffic.
Meanwhile, work is nearly complete on an $11 million to $12 million project funded by Advanced Communications Technology of Sheridan to lay a fiber optic line along Interstate 25 from Casper through Cheyenne to the Colorado state line and along Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to the Nebraska state line.
Governor Mead worked with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to allow freeway right-of-way access to lay the conduit.
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