(WAOW) -- Governor Tony Evers called 2021 the year of broadband during his State of the State address on Tuesday night.
During the speech, Evers announced his plan to invest $200 million over the next two years into broadband expansion and affodability.
"There are just way too many people across the state, especially in our rural areas I think it's over 400,000, that don't have access," Evers said in an interview with News 9 on Wednesday.
"The broadband intiative isn't just about rural Wisconsin and having people recover from the pandemic, there are places in our urban world where they either don't have good access of they don't have affordable access," he said.
The investment is welcome news to many in central Wisconsin, like Eric Budleski.
Budleski is a citizen member of the Broadband Coalition for Marathon County. He knows first hand, and through neighbors, how broadband issues have only been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Children are home or they're trying to get health care via the internet because the health care system can't allow them to come into locations." Budleski said of some the challenges families have faced in the last year. "So it's ever more apparent that our broadband system is not adequate."
He said the announcement gives him hope that quicker connections are coming soon.
"With additional funds, we're going to be able to increase capacity of these services and bring a change that we all desperately need."
He also encourages you to reach out to your elected officials about any broadband issues in hopes that problems are pinpointed moving forward.