State’s Broadband Expansion Program “Grants” Upwards of $11 Million
The state of Wisconsin currently has 13 wireless broadband projects in the works, slated to share $1.5 million in Broadband Expansion Grants created by Governor Scott Walker, reported The Daily News.
The Broadband Expansion Program provides reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses incurred to extend or improve broadband and began with the 2013-15 biennial budget. The grants continued when funds were increased from $500,000 to $1.5 million annually, in the 2015-17 budget. The governor’s proposed 2017-19 biennial budget provides $11 million more for the program over the next several years, reported The Daily News.
Some of the projects being realized by the Broadband Expansion Program include:
Florence County Tower Project – Florence County will receive $66,712 to fix three towers, aimed at helping underserved areas in the state by providing wireless service access. According to the Public Service Commission (PSC), $2,310,475 is earmarked for these broadband infrastructure projects, and with a matching fund program, the total comes in at $3,810,475.
Vilas County Fiber to Home Service – ChoiceTel LLC will receive $72,846.40 to construct a fiber to home service in the town of Land O’Lakes.
Vilas County Fixed Wireless Service – SonicNet Inc. will accept a $6,746 grant to install fixed wireless service on a county-owned tower in Conover.
Governor Walker said in the joint announcement with the PSC, “Internet access is a critical component of education, telemedicine, e-commerce, agribusiness, and tourism, just to name a few. No corner of our state can be left behind.”