MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today delivered the Democratic Radio Address highlighting investments made to enhance broadband access and infrastructure across the state, including $100 million in Broadband Access Grants funded through the American Rescue Plan Act announced last week.
Hi, folks. Governor Tony Evers here.
Over the last 18 months, the pandemic underscored—and in many ways made worse—the digital divides that exist across our state.
As kids and educators turned their kitchens into classrooms, doctor’s appointments moved to telemedicine, and businesses worked to shift to offering online services, we saw firsthand that lack of access to reliable, high-speed internet was a challenge for so many.
That’s why I declared 2021 the Year of the Broadband Access in Wisconsin, and it’s why we’ve continued to make huge, exciting investments in broadband infrastructure.
I’m proud that in the budget I recently signed we provided $129 million for broadband expansion projects, and just last week we announced the recipients of $100 million in Broadband Access Grants that we funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.
These 83 projects will help expand broadband to more than 28,426 residential locations and 1,490 businesses that are currently unserved or underserved across 40 counties and three tribal communities.
And altogether, our 2019, 2020, and 2021 state broadband expansion grants and our federally-funded CARES Act and ARPA broadband grants have provided or are going to provide more than 300,000 homes and businesses with access to new or improved service.
Folks, that’s a heckuva big deal. Having reliable, high-speed internet access is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity for our schools, families, healthcare systems, and businesses alike.
But we can’t—and won’t—stop there. Whether it’s expanding broadband to our rural schools, hospitals, businesses, and communities or raising standards on download and upload speeds, we’re going to keep working to make sure every community in our state gets connected.