Scott Walker
Press Release

Governor Walker Announces Launch of Wisconsin’s Broadband Forward! Community Certification Program

To assist in the expansion of broadband in Wisconsin, Governor Walker created the Broadband Expansion Grant Program in the 2011-13 biennial budget.

By - Jul 5th, 2016 04:51 pm

Viroqua – Governor Scott Walker joined community leaders and state officials at Vernon Communications Cooperative today to announce the official launch of Wisconsin’s Broadband Forward! Community Certification Program. The program coordinates and streamlines administrative procedures for the deployment of next generation broadband technologies by providing a new “Broadband Forward! Community” designation for units of local government who wish to participate.

“Improving the speed and efficiency of broadband throughout Wisconsin is crucial to the continued economic success of our communities,” Governor Walker said. “The Broadband Forward! Community certification allows communities to distinguish themselves by eliminating obstacles to infrastructure investment.”

“Broadband Forward! Community certification is a welcome mat for more broadband investment. A streamlined permitting process and reasonable fee structure is a win-win for everyone involved,” explained Bill Esbeck, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association.

Wisconsin communities choosing to be designated as a “Broadband Forward! Community” must comply with certain procedures for reviewing applications and permits related to broadband infrastructure projects with the goal of streamlining the process for approving local broadband investment. Municipalities interested in applying are encouraged to visit the Public Service Commission’s website here for more information.

“The State Broadband Office at the Public Service Commission is ready to serve as a resource for communities and providers looking to maximize broadband infrastructure investments in Wisconsin, and our ultimate goal is bringing broadband service to every corner of our state,” Governor Walker added.

To assist in the expansion of broadband in Wisconsin, Governor Walker created the Broadband Expansion Grant Program in the 2011-13 biennial budget. In 2015, Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature tripled the amount of funding for broadband expansion grants to $1.5 million annually, with a total of $6 million allocated from the Universal Service Fund cash reserves to fund grants over a four year period.

“In addition to these flexible public-private grants, a six-year, $570 million federal program is providing funding to expand rural broadband access in Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “The Broadband Forward! Community Program helps to remove obstacles and will improve the speed and efficiency of these investments, which will significantly benefit communities in our state.”

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