MADISON – Governor Tony Evers and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D- Wisconsin) announced it will use $140 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to invest in internet access across the state.
The funds will be directed to two different grant programs: the Flexible Facilities Program and the Digital Connectivity and Navigators Program.
The Flexible Facilities Program will invest over $100 million in buildings for local and Tribal governments. Certain existing buildings will receive upgrades in ‘digital connectivity equipment’. Facilities eligible for upgrades will be ‘anchor institutions’ that enable work or education, such as public libraries and community centers.
The Digital Connectivity and Navigators Program will direct over $30 million to non-profit organizations to install computing devices, install Wi-Fi equipment in certain apartment buildings.
In November, Governor Evers announced the Wisconsin Broadband Office received $221.6 million worth of applications for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program; only $42 million could be allocated.
Governor Evers had the following statement on the investment.
“We’ve come a long way to expand access to high-speed internet access in Wisconsin and build the local infrastructure needed to close the digital divide. Thanks to our efforts since 2019, more than 395,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin will have new or improved service. Meaningfully investing in expanding high-speed internet access must be one of our top priorities to ensure our industries, families, and communities continue to grow and prosper. With these new programs, we will have more opportunities to invest in the services that ensure both Wisconsinites and our state are prepared to meet the needs of the 21st century.”
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