OWEN, Wis. (WAOW)— Six communities in Wiscosnin have been selected for a Broadband Connectors Pilot program, including the School District of Owen-Withee and Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
The announcement came Tuesday from Gov. Tony Evers, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
“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 Gov. Evers. “This joint program will provide critical support and resources to help local communities get connected.”
The six communities were chosen out of 96 applicants with the following criteria:
- The community has taken some initial steps toward broadband expansion
- Diverse community partners have committed to working together on broadband expansion
- The community has a clear vision for the technical assistance they are seeking
- The community seeks to expand broadband in an underserved or unserved area
According to the Governor's press release, the pilot program helps provide technical assistance to help the selected communities apply for federal, state, and private-sector broadband expansion funds. It's intended to help WEDC and PSC better understand what communities' communities’ broadband technical assistance needs are.
“Such a tremendous response demonstrates that there is a strong desire to apply for state and federal broadband funding, but the challenge for many communities is a lack of resources to participate,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson of the PSC. “This pilot program shows promise to push through that barrier, allowing communities to take steps to connect their residents more quickly.”
Other communities selected include:
- Ho-Chunk Nation
- Town of Cross
- St Croix County
- Fond du Lac County