Evers announces $100 million investment in broadband

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The state of Wisconsin will invest $100 million in broadband expansion, Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday, saying the funding will be awarded by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin based on its broadband expansion grant program.

“I declared 2021 the Year of Broadband Access because everyone in this state should have access to reliable internet service. Between our Badger Bounceback agenda investments and these federal funds, we’re taking a major step toward connecting everyone in our state,” said Evers. “I’m glad to be able to direct this funding to the PSC so the folks in need of high-speed internet can get connected as quickly as possible. I also urge our state legislature to pass our Badger Bounceback agenda to allocate an additional nearly $200 million for broadband access and provide financial assistance to low-income households struggling with their internet bills. This isn’t a question of providing federal or state funding for broadband—we must do both to ensure folks can get connected.”

The funding, which is part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act, is available for projects designed to bring broadband to unserved or underserved households or businesses, prioritize affordability and build reliable service of at least 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds by 2025.

“I want to thank Gov. Evers for his continued leadership and commitment to broadband connectivity and for allocating this funding that will make a significant impact in the lives of those who are unserved by high-speed internet,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “We are committed to getting the funding awarded quickly and efficiently while continuing to be good stewards of public dollars.”

The PSC will make applications available, including information on project eligibility guidelines, for this first round of federal broadband funding on June 1, 2021, with applications due on July 27, 2021. More information regarding the PSC’s broadband access and affordability programs can be found here.