Idaho Gov. Signs Executive Order Forming Broadband Task Force

The task force is charged with mapping the state's existing services and pinpointing gaps in broadband infrastructure to aid in the eventual development of a comprehensive statewide plan.

by / May 23, 2019
Idaho Capitol Building Shutterstock/CSNafzger

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order today establishing the Idaho Broadband Task Force. The group is charged with improving connectivity and infrastructure throughout the state.

The 37-member task force will first focus its efforts on mapping existing services and looking at gaps in Idaho’s current broadband infrastructure, according to a prepared statement. The eventual goal will be to use the data collected to pen a statewide broadband plan.

Gov. Little addressed the need to expand Internet access in rural Idaho during his State of the State speech in January. Little said, at the time, that inadequate infrastructure has stifled economic growth in nonurbanized parts of the state. He reiterated in a statement today the correlation between reliable Internet connectivity and a thriving local and state economy.

“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 release.

Tom Kealey, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, has been tapped to lead the task force. Kealey said in the release that reliable access to broadband service is essential to better the lives of residents.

“The Idaho Broadband Task Force intends to directly address connectivity gaps and low-speed service and provide recommendations to the Governor that will allow Idaho citizens, businesses and communities to continue on a trajectory of success,” Kealey said.

Some of the key members include:

  • Director Tom Kealey, Idaho Department of Commerce
  • Administrator Jeff Weak, Governor’s Office of Information Technology Services
  • Director Brad Richy, Idaho Office of Emergency Management
  • Director Celia Gould, Idaho State Department of Agriculture
  • Commissioner Mike Fitzgerald, Shoshone County, Idaho Association of Counties
  • Mayor Kevin England, Chubbuck, Idaho Association of Cities
  • Michael Mattmiller, Microsoft
  • Kenneth Smith, Hewlett-Packard
  • Tara Thue, AT&T
  • Milt Doumit, Verizon