Saturday, February 20, 2010

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Rural broadband service coming to libraries, schools - but not homes

Link to February18 article.

Excerpt: High-speed Internet access could be coming to rural Wisconsin schools and libraries soon, but it could be years before the service is available to businesses and homes in some areas - if it's ever available.

Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday that Wisconsin will receive nearly $23 million in federal stimulus money to provide high-speed, or broadband, Internet access to 467 sites in 380 communities.

More than 200 miles of fiber-optic cable will be installed to bring the service to 385 libraries and 82 schools.

The cable could improve police, fire department and hospital communications in rural areas.

Having the cable in every county will make it easier to expand broadband, said Thad Nation, executive director of Wired Wisconsin, a non-profit group focused on telecommunications issues.

Some rural schools and libraries could receive high-speed Internet access in 12 months as a result of the stimulus money. The work will be done by contractors hired by state government.

But don't expect broadband in all rural homes and businesses anytime soon.

The state's Internet service providers were shunned in the first round of stimulus grants aimed at bringing broadband to rural communities.

(Ja, and maybe it has something to do with their spotty record.)

Related articles:

Rhinelander Daily News: Schools, libraries to benefit from broadband funds. (2/20/2010)

Wausau Daily Herald: Rural libraries to gain high-speed Internet access. (2/20/2010)

Green Bay Press-Gazette: Rural school districts, targeted for $22.9 million in broadband upgrades. (2/19/2010)

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