Six Wisconsin communities have been selected for the Broadband Connectors Pilot Program, Governor Tony Evers announced last week.
Offered in partnership by the WEDC and the state Public Service Commission, the program will provide the communities with technical assistance for a greater likelihood of a successful application for federal, state or private-sector funding for broadband expansion.
“As families, business owners, and communities across the state continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for affordable, accessible high-speed broadband is perhaps more important now than ever,” said Governor Evers. “This joint program will provide critical support and resources to help local communities get connected.”
“Throughout the listening sessions of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity this summer, residents came with one consistent message: They need broadband to stay connected for jobs, education and health care,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “This pilot program will provide us with important lessons on how we can better use existing resources to fill in the gaps in coverage and reach more communities.”
The six communities selected for the pilot, from a total of 96 applications submitted, are:
- Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
- Ho-Chunk Nation
- School District of Owen-Withee
- Town of Cross
- St Croix County
- Fond du Lac County
The pilot program is intended to help WEDC and PSC to better understand what communities’ broadband technical assistance needs are. Drawing on the expertise of both WEDC and PSC staff, the best practices developed from the pilot program will be incorporated into a Wisconsin Broadband Playbook for communities.