Gov. Scott Walker
Press Release

Governor Walker Calls on State Legislature to Pass Rural Broadband Expansion Bill

Proposed legislation invests an additional estimated $35.5 million in broadband expansion efforts over the next three years

By - Dec 2nd, 2016 11:13 am

Seymour – Governor Scott Walker called on the State Legislature to pass a proposed bill today that appropriates an additional estimated $35.5 million for broadband expansion and technology programs, such as the Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) program, over the next three fiscal years. Governor Walker made the announcement at the Muehl Public Library in Seymour where his first listening session was conducted in December 2015.

“Over the past year, we’ve conducted more than 70 listening sessions in communities throughout the state, and one of the topics we hear brought up all the time is access to reliable broadband internet,” Governor Walker said. “The proposed legislation we’re asking the Legislature to act on triples the state’s broadband and technology investments and it will allow Wisconsin communities, especially in rural areas, to compete for jobs, improve education, and provide a higher quality of life.”

Governor Walker Calls on State Legislature to Pass Rural Broadband Expansion Bill

Governor Walker Calls on State Legislature to Pass Rural Broadband Expansion Bill

The proposed legislation appropriates an additional estimated $35.5 million for broadband expansion efforts and TEACH grants over Fiscal Years 2017, 2018, and 2019. The TEACH program provides money to eligible schools, libraries, and other educational institutions to upgrade technology and train teachers from small and rural school districts on technology. In addition to providing more funds, the bill also knocks down a barrier to broadband development by prohibiting the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation from requiring appraisals or charging any fee prior to granting any permits or easements for the construction of broadband infrastructure in underserved areas.

The funding comes from a surplus in the Universal Service Fund. The broadband expansion funds would be administered through the Public Service Commission, and the TEACH program funds would be administered through the Department of Administration.

“As Wisconsin continues to compete in the global economy, it is crucial for our small businesses, schools, and households to have access to the internet,” Governor Walker added. “This legislation helps expand broadband access for areas in need as we work towards building an infrastructure where every community is able to connect to fast and reliable internet.”

In addition to Governor Walker’s announcement today, State Broadband Director Angie Dickison attended a Broadband Forward! event in Thorp to certify them as “broadband ready.” In March of 2016, Governor Walker signed legislation into law requiring PSC to certify communities as being “broadband ready” through Wisconsin’s Broadband Forward! Community Certification Program, which coordinates and streamlines administrative procedures, thus eliminating obstacles to broadband investment.

Since Governor Walker signed this legislation into law, four communities, including the town of Clam Falls, Iowa County, village of Kronenwetter, and city of Thorp, are now certified as “broadband ready” by the Broadband Forward! Community Certification Program.

A copy of the bill draft is attached.

Press Releases by Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Walker Issues Statement Applauding the Presidential Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline

"It will add jobs, capacity, and ensure our nation is making sound choices to protect our energy security."

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Walker Highlights K-12 Education Investments During Visit To Bradley Technology High School in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Public Schools is estimated to receive approximately $1.32 billion in funding from the state under Governor Walker’s biennial budget

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Walker Issues Statement on the Tragic Death of Greg “Ziggy” Zyszkiewicz and Orders Flags to Half-Staff

"On behalf of the State of Wisconsin, I am lowering the flags to half-staff as a mark of respect for Mr. Zyszkiewicz."

Gov. Scott Walker

German Candy-Maker HARIBO Selects Wisconsin for First North American Manufacturing Facility

New facility in Kenosha County expected to open in 2020

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Walker Announces $400,000 for Non-Profit Organizations to Help Veteran Entrepreneurs

The experience our veterans receive serving in the military provide them with unique skills and expertise that not only benefit potential employers but also make them savvy business owners."

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Walker Joins Hunzinger Construction Company in Sending Care Packages to Our Troops

"I’m proud to join Hunzinger employees today in wrapping care packages to bring our brave men and women in uniform."

See More Releases

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *