State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) shared his support for the Governor’s creation of a Task Force on Broadband Access following the announcement of the task force.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted issues relating to a lack of connectivity that many residents of rural Northwestern Wisconsin are far too familiar with. I am glad to see Governor Evers is serious about improving broadband access for Wisconsinites who have struggled with the consequences of not having reliable, high-speed broadband,” Milroy said.
Milroy continued, “Whether we are working, learning, or having telemedicine visits from home, it is crucial that everyone has access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband. Now more than ever, this is a necessary component for ensuring our economy thrives and our communities can be successful and safe. No one should be left behind due to a lack of connectivity, and I am hopeful the governor’s task force will help improve access for folks across the state.”
Governor Evers’ budget provided $48 million to the Broadband Expansion Grant program, the largest investment in broadband access in state history. In its recently released report “Wisconsin Tomorrow,” the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation indicated making investments to improve Wisconsin’s broadband will be instrumental to the development and recovery of the state’s economy.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 2020 Broadband Development report, nearly 23% of Wisconsin residents living in rural regions of the state lack access to a fixed terrestrial broadband service with a speed of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. In addition, FCC data shows the percentage of those who lack connectivity in Wisconsin is higher than the average nationwide, with Wisconsin at 7.1% and the national average at 5.6%.
The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access will be composed of a diverse group of stakeholders who will research how best to expand broadband access across the state and provide the governor and State Legislature with recommendations. Through collaborative efforts, the task force will advise state leaders on policy and actions relating to broadband with the goal of ensuring affordable access to broadband reaches every Wisconsin community, especially those that are presently underserved in regards to connectivity.