Wisconsin’s broadband infrastructure consistently ranks near the bottom of states in the nation. In 2018, Wisconsin was ranked 32nd for internet access, out of all 50 states.
That ranking makes Wisconsin Broadband Office’s plan to have internet acess for all Wisconsin residents by 2025 a lofty goal, Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point said.
“It’s a lofty goal and one if we can hit it that would be fantastic,” said Testin on WPR’s “The West Side.” “I think it sends a strong message that this is an issue that has bipartisan support that we can all get on board with and ensure that we can connect every corner of the state.”
At the state level, Testin said the Public Service Commission (PSC) has created broadband expansion grants for small providers that typically serve rural and underserved areas. He said between 2014-2018, the state has helped connect more than 4,000 businesses and 75,000 households with high-speed internet.
Congress is also taking more interest in bringing high-speed internet to rural areas. Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, joined the House of Representatives Rural Broadband Task Force — a bipartisan group studying the issue.
“We can do a deep dive into the mapping of the areas to make sure were getting an accurate assessment as far as where the connection is occurring and where it’s pulling up short and then assessing the multitude of programs that are meant to address it,” Kind said.