Funding to provide new or improved broadband access to over 6,300 underserved locations

MADISON – On Thursday, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC or Commission) awarded funding from the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The Commission awarded $16,601,085 for 24 projects that will expand broadband internet to 6,042 residential and 276 business locations that are underserved. The projects receiving awards will impact 19 counties. The grant awards will leverage $25,360,858 of matching funds from recipients.

“The investments we’ve made in Wisconsin’s Broadband Expansion Program since 2019 have helped to deliver affordable, high-speed internet to communities across our state,” said Gov. Evers. “The longer it takes to expand access, the more costly it will be for our state to catch up—that’s why I am proud to know this latest round will help even more folks connect with one another as my administration works to meet our goal of getting every Wisconsinite access to high-speed internet.”

Since Governor Evers took office in 2019, Wisconsin has disbursed or committed over $345 million towards expanding broadband, which have provided or will provide more than 395,000 homes and businesses access to new or improved services.

In December 2022, Governor Evers and PSC Chairperson Valcq announced the opening of the new grant round with the remaining state funds available for broadband expansion from the 2021-23 biennial budget period. In February 2023, the PSC received 74 applications requesting a total of $73.7 million. 

“This investment is a positive step forward toward connecting all in our state, but our work is not done,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “As we work to plan for and implement federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, state funding—like these grants—is a critical and needed component to make sure all can access and use broadband.”

The broadband expansion grants invest in infrastructure projects for internet service in areas of the state where people need improved service. During the application review, the Commission evaluated each grant based on, among other factors, matching funds, public-private partnerships, project impact, and economic development.

The state grant program is well positioned to fulfill the unique internet access needs of Wisconsin where the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Internet for All programs may fall short. During the next several years, as the state prepares to implement the federal programs to build broadband infrastructure, state investments will ensure innovation-supporting, high-speed internet is delivered more quickly.

Wisconsin’s Broadband Grant Program has been nationally recognized. In August 2022, the state grant program was named “Best in Class” by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for “clear documentation of their application and award processes.” Since 2014, 458 grants have been awarded through the grant program from state and federal funding to projects impacting 71 counties.

The full list of Grant Recipients can be found here:

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