TV White Space: The answer to Rural Wisconsin’s Broadband Woes

State Representative Mary Felzkowski and Senator Tom Tiffany

November 10, 2017

There is no place quite like the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Apart from our beautiful lakes and rivers and abundant wildlife, we have some of the best recreational opportunities in the state. Tom and I are so fortunate to serve the residents of the 12th Senate District and the 35th Assembly District, filled with truly down-to-earth, extremely hardworking individuals. These people are what make living in northern Wisconsin so unique and fulfilling. Unfortunately, living in rural Wisconsin comes at a cost. Many of our families and small businesses do not have access to adequate broadband connection, holding our communities at an economic development and educational disadvantage.

We hear from constituents every week asking us when broadband will finally reach their doors. As part of that process, we talk to providers in their area to see what can be done for them and what the timeline looks like. It is often a frustrating process for them and for us because we cannot always do something to help. Today, we hope to turn the connectivity tide by sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging them to open the door to an exciting and cost-efficient technology that has the potential to greatly expand access to high speed internet in rural, especially underserved areas.

This new technology would require the FCC to adopt regulations that will allow the use of TV white space (unused spectrum between TV stations) to broadcast high speed internet. With permission from the FCC, providers would have the ability to deliver internet that is four times faster and reaches sixteen times farther than Wi-Fi. TV white space technology has been successfully tested in 20 pilot efforts connecting 185,000 people.

It is our hope that TV white space will be a truly transformative answer to our constituents who ask when they will be able to connect. We call on the FCC to do everything in its power to make this technology a reality so that those in the most need can have the tools they need to succeed.

Mary Felzkowski                                                       Tom Tiffany

State Representative                                                 State Senator

35th Assembly District                                              12th Senate District

For a link to the letter the legislators sent to the FCC, please click here.


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