On November 5, Bug Tussel CEO Steve Schneider announced the withdrawal of a tower proposal presented to Crawford County. According to SW News, the latest proposal of five to six towers was a scaled-down version of an original plan to build 16 towers; now, that number rests at zero.
The project was intended to utilize a broadband internet grant by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. The towers aimed to provide broadband access to residents and students studying from home during the pandemic, reported SW News.
Schneider noted that Bug Tussel is seeking to work instead with the Wauzeka-Steuben School District on the project. Wauzeka-Steuben School Board member Tom Martin spoke passionately in favor of the plan. “We’ve been looking for the last ten years for a provider for broadband internet,” Martin said. “Unlike Centurylink or CCC Co-op, these people have reality.”
Schneider said he was withdrawing from the proposed project partly due to negative public reaction and pushback from the media that had dampened his enthusiasm. He said during the meeting he had been “eaten alive in the local newspaper.” After withdrawing the application, the Crawford County Board Chair asked him to reconsider, reported SW News. However, Schneider declined and advised the county to create a Broadband Study Committee.
“I’d like the county board to create their own strategy before deciding on a provider to provide the service,” Schneider said. “Decide what you need, and if we can meet that need, we’ll be back at the table.”