Friday, February 19, 2010

Green Bay Press-Gazette: Rural school districts, libraries targeted for $22.9 million in broadband upgrades

Link to February 19 Green Bay Press-Gazette article.

Excerpt: The access will go to 76 school districts, eight colleges and technical schools and 384 libraries or library systems throughout Wisconsin.

According to U.S. Census data, in 2007, half of Wisconsin did not have access to high-speed Internet in their houses, Hightower said. Providing the service to rural schools and libraries will "fix the glaring inequality," he said.

Doyle said the state has been investing heavily in Internet upgrade since 2007. More recent census data puts Wisconsin ninth in the country for overall high-speed access and 10th for high-speed access in households. [Link to Governor's Office news release.]

The federal money will mean an additional 200 miles of fiber optic cable in the state, which will help extend the service to hard-to-reach areas, Doyle said. Access will be available in more than 90 percent of libraries and 80 percent of schools in the state, he said.

Most of Brown County's libraries have high speed Internet service, but the new initiative will help extend it to the smaller, rural branches in places such as Pulaski and Wrightstown, library director Lynn Stainbrook said. Other communities to benefit include Sturgeon Bay, Shawano, Oconto Falls, Kewaunee, Two Rivers and Peshtigo.

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