Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr is proposing s six-month moratorium on public rights- of -way fees in the downtown Cheyenne area and the West Edge as a way to encourage broadband internet providers to offer service in that area.

The proposal would need to be approved as a resolution by the Cheyenne City Council before taking effect.

The right-of-way fees are fees charged by the city for the use of city rights-of-ways/infrastructure for various lines, including those used to carry electricity and high-speed internet service.

The fees are currently levied at a rate of $2.00 per linear foot per month. Orr said the fees currently cost some businesses thousands or even tens-of-thousands of dollars per year.

If the city council signs off on the proposal, the moratorium would run for the rest of 2017. Since the resolution would have to go through two readings in the city council, it would likely take effect in early June, running about six months or so until Dec. 31, 2017.

Orr made her proposal on Tuesday morning at the Array School of Technology and Design in downtown Cheyenne. The mayor said that school's founder, Eric Trowbridge, had repeatedly asked her why communities such as Worland and Thermopolis are gigabit cities, which have fiber availability at the doorstep of every home and business, but Cheyenne, the state's Capital City, doesn't.

Trowbridge says he was quoted a cost for half a gigabit in Cheyenne that was many times the cost of a full gigabit in a community such as Thayne, Wyo.

The mayor believes encouraging competition among broadband service providers in Cheyenne will bring the cost of connectivity in Cheyenne more in line with that in other communities.

Mayor Orr says having high-speed internet access for many businesses isn't a luxury, but rather a necessity.

She says she is hoping that broadband providers will be attracted to the area due to the fee waiver, which in turn may bring in businesses that utilize high-speed broadband. The mayor says she has already been contacted by a couple of companies that are interested in providing broadband service to the proposed Enterprise Zone.

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