GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) calls broadband service a necessity and she is doing her best to push expansion. Kris Schuller reports about Sen. Baldwin holding a roundtable discussion with local leaders to get their thoughts on better internet access.
At NWTC, the roundtable discussion was held to talk about the need for high-speed broadband service.
“Clearly broadband is not a luxury, we liken it to a highway,” said Barb LaMue, CEO of New North Inc.
Between Senator Baldwin and leaders in education, healthcare, and the business community.
“What we heard was a lot of resolve to get things done,” said Baldwin.
According to the White House, nearly 14 percent of Wisconsinites live in areas without acceptable high-speed broadband service. Baldwin hopes to change that through passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which would mean $65 billion for high-speed broadband networks in the U.S.
“We are expecting if we’re successful in passing these bills to have additional funds to help, really building up broadband to those especially in rural areas who don’t have access at all,” said Baldwin.
The pandemic pointed out many shortcomings when it comes to internet access here in the state in rural communities, like Calumet County.
“We know some of the folks impacted during the pandemic were really not able to work remotely because they didn’t have access at home,” said Mary Kohrell, director for economic development in Calumet County.
Kohrell says reliable broadband would be a game-changer, attracting more residents and businesses, actually keeping people in the county.
“The potential positive impacts through broadband are really countless,” she said.
“Everybody I think is on the same page in understanding how important it is to be able to get all families access to this critical utility,” said Baldwin.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation when they return to Washington next week.
Baldwin also announced NEW North, Inc. has received a half a million-dollar federal grant to conduct a broadband gap analysis for its 18-county region in Northeast Wisconsin.