Science & Technology

Governor Unveils Plan To Expand Broadband In Northern Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker announced the plan at an economic development conference in Washburn County.

Gov. Scott Walker announced a plan Tuesday to expand broadband access for several cities in northern rural Wisconsin.

The state is providing a roughly $100,000 grant to a telecommunications provider in Amery called Northwest Communications to expand broadband Internet access in Barron County. Walker, speaking at an economic development summit in Washburn County, said that the roughly $500,000 expansion would help grow economic opportunities in the region.​

“High speed broadband Internet access, that will help in terms of small businesses. It’ll help farmers. It’ll help forestry. It certainly will help our schools and education in the state,” he said.

The project will allow around 150 homes in the area to have faster Internet access.

Walker made stops at Clayton High School and the city of Hurley to announce the broadband expansions. He said Antigo will also receive assistance through the state’s broadband expansion grant program.

The state budget tripled the amount of grant money available to expand broadband in underserved areas this year. The state will award $1.5 million each year to around 15 to 20 projects.

A communications official with Northwest Communications said they’ll begin laying fiber for broadband access in the spring. He expects the project will wrap up by the end of the year.