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Broadband Expansion Headed to Rural WI

Friday, May 05, 2017 12:01 a.m. CDT by T.J. Pezl

Faster and expanded broadband service should soon be headed to rural areas of Wisconsin.

That’s thanks to legislation passed in Madison this week with an eye on improving health care, education, and jobs, in those technologically under-served areas of the state.

State Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) says Assembly Bill 123 invests $15.5 million for broadband expansion, and that small rural schools would now be eligible for $7.5 million in grants through the ‘Technology Educational Achievement’ program.

“As far as broadband, what we’d like to do is focus on those areas that currently don’t have service, so that we can get those areas taken care of. I think that’s important,” Spiros said. “As we’re looking to step into the future, not all those municipalities, the villages, the towns – especially north of (Hwy) 29 – are all set up with broadband. Plus our schools up in those areas need to be better served, to me that’s a necessity.”

The legislation is part of the ‘Rural Wisconsin Initiative,’ and State Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) says it’s just one of the things being done to improve quality-of-life issues in rural Wisconsin. “Really there’s a wide diversity of bills to have Central and Northern, and Western Wisconsin kind of at the forefront. It seems that sometimes we are forgotten out here.”

Both the State Senate and State Assembly passed that broadband legislation this week, and it’s now headed to Governor Walker’s desk for his signature.

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