Wisconsin receives grant to develop broadband equity plan

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced during a Monday news conference in Milwaukee that the state received more than $5 million to develop a plan to expand broadband equitably to all Wisconsinites.

The plan will be followed up with a larger federal disbursement that could range from $700 million to $1.1 billion, with the exact dollar amount to be determined next year by the federal government.

“It means more business owners can get their products online, more seniors can stay connected to their families, telehealth can grow,” Evers said.

Rebecca Valcq, chair of the Public Service Commission, said the equity component of the grant helps ensure that all geographic areas of the state receive access.

“This isn’t rural versus urban,” she said. “This is truly making sure that we are reaching every single Wisconsin resident, wherever they are.”

Valcq added that the state will work with local officials to make sure that both efforts are complementary.

“We want to make sure that the larger tranche of money is being used as efficiently as possible,” she said, “and that we are not overbuilding and that we’re not overspending where we shouldn’t be overspending.”

“We’re going to be partnering at the very local level to talk about broadband mapping, to talk about workforce development,” she added. “This is really about us being able to coordinate with our local partners to find how to best come up with our digital equity plan.”