(2017 Wisconsin Act 59)
In 2013, with the support of WIB, state lawmakers created the Broadband Expansion Grant program administered by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. This program provides reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses incurred to extend or improve broadband telecommunications service in underserved areas of the state – areas served by fewer than two broadband service providers. Eligible applicants include:
- an organization operated for profit or not for profit, including a cooperative;
- a telecommunications utility; or
- a city, village, town, or county that has established a legal partnership or joint venture arrangement with an otherwise qualified organization or telecommunications utility.
Since then, WIB has successfully lobbied for more grant funding and statutory changes to make the program more responsive to the needs of underserved and unserved communities throughout rural Wisconsin.
2017 Wisconsin Act 59 provided an additional $14 million in funding for Broadband Expansion Grants in 2017-2018.