Wisconsin gets $40 million in ARPA funding to expand broadband access

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The U.S. Department of Treasury has approved a plan from Gov. Tony Evers that will allocate $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to increase high-speed internet access across the state. The money is part of the Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund.

“Whether it’s finding work, running a business, going to school, or just staying connected to friends and family, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Evers. “I’ve been proud to use our investments since 2019 to provide more than 387,000 homes and businesses with high-quality, high-speed internet, and we’re not slowing down anytime soon. The digital divide is holding our families, communities, economy, and our state back, so I’m glad to direct this funding that will help ensure we can continue building on the progress we’ve made over the last three years.”

The $40 million will be invested in grants and planning resources awarded by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to internet service providers to bring high-speed broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved locations throughout the state.

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The Wisconsin Broadband Office at the PSC coordinates broadband investment, develops broadband coverage maps, facilitates statewide digital access and equity efforts, and administers Wisconsin’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The broadband expansion grants invest in construction projects for internet service in areas of the state that are challenging to connect due to population density or geography.

The state expects the approval of more funding from the Capital Projects Fund to come soon. More than $140 million in additional funding will be available to carry out device deployment and digital navigator projects and to improve community access to essential equipment. The community will be able to take part in these initiatives, including public libraries, community centers for aging and older adults, and facilities owned by school districts and local and Tribal governments.

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