83 Broadband Projects Get Funding

Earlier this month, the Public Service Commission awarded more than $99.9 million for 83 projects that will expand fiber broadband internet to more than 28,426 residential and 1,490 business locations. The projects getting money are located in 40 counties and three tribal lands. The grant awardees will provide matching funds of more than $101.9 million.

The dollars are part of the Broadband Access Grants through funding made available by Gov. Tony Evers in May. Earlier this year, Evers declared 2021 as ‘The Year of Broadband,’ and allocated $129 million in state grant funding over the next two years for Broadband Expansion.

“Expanding reliable, high-speed internet access remains a top priority for our state and we continue to move quickly to get federal funding allocated so construction on these projects can begin as soon as possible,” the guv said.

The grants are funded through the American Rescue Plan Act. Applications were made available on June 1 and were due on July 27. The PSC got 242 applications requesting more than $440 million for projects that will be completed by Dec. 31, 2024. Internet service providers, telecommunications utilities, cooperatives, local governments, and for-profit and non-profit organizations were eligible to apply.

The PSC evaluated broadband projects based on applicant capacity, capability, performance, project budget, proposed matching funds and the proposed service area’s existing broadband service needs.

Applicants not selected for ARPA funding are encouraged to apply for the State’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program; details are expected to come out in the coming weeks.

See the list of ARPA Broadband Access Grant awardees: https://psc.wi.gov/Documents/broadband/ARPAgrantSummaryFY2022.pdf

See the map of ARPA Broadband Access Grant awardees: https://psc.wi.gov/Documents/broadband/BbExpG51.pdf