Authorities estimate full broadband coverage in Wisconsin could cost up to $ 1.4 billion | Local government
In hopes of obtaining more detailed information, the state’s education department has partnered with Measurement Lab this year to collect internet speed test data from residents statewide, which has resulted in nearly 400,000 tests to date.
Kurt Kiefer, a member of the Governor’s Broadband Access Task Force and deputy state superintendent of DPI’s Libraries and Technology Division, said these speed tests would provide another layer of mapping to broadband in the state not only to identify needs, but to measure success of public spending.
“You have to have the data and that has been critical to all of this,” Kiefer said. “When you have it, you can actually do something, rather than talk about it.”
In addition to developing broadband, Kiefer and Beyer said it would be essential for the state to provide some level of annual funding to overcome the other barrier to high-speed internet – accessibility.
“Even if we solve the broadband problem from an access point of view, there will still be affordability issues,” Kiefer said. “There are just people who have no means and who will need support.”
The PSC has awarded $ 73.6 million in broadband grants over the past eight years. Almost three-quarters of this amount has been distributed during the current biennial budget cycle.