Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced that the state will use $40 million in Federal funding to expedite Wisconsin’s efforts to expand access to high-speed internet across the state.
The governor’s plan for the funding, which comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was recently approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of its 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 Gov. 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 funding will be used for 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. The overall goal of the Capital Projects Fund, according to the Treasury Department, is to expand the availability of reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity technology through critical capital projects.
“I want to thank Gov. Evers for his continued leadership and commitment to broadband connectivity and for allocating this funding that will make a significant impact in the lives of those who don’t have access to broadband internet,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “We are committed to efficiently administering this funding while continuing to be good stewards of public dollars.”
To award the funding, Gov. Evers said the state plans to involve “a diverse group of stakeholders,” including public libraries, community centers for aging and older adults, and facilities owned by school districts and local and Tribal governments. PSC plans to release application information for the $40 million in funding soon.
The governor’s office also noted that the state anticipates the Treasury Department to authorize additional funding. The state noted that 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.