Broadband

Bill Wilkinson / WXPR News

Voters in Phelps will have a referendum next spring on whether to go ahead with a plan for a new wireless internet tower.  

A town meeting vote narrowly defeated a proposal for buying a property slated for tower construction.  But a margin of just five votes prompted the town board this week to approve a referendum.

Phelps Town Chair Colin Snook says better high speed access would boost the economy. 

commons.wikimedia.org

A U.S.D.A. spokesperson says they're ready to help Native American tribes gear up to fulfill high-speed internet needs.

Representatives of the state's tribes met last week in Mole Lake with the U.S.D.A's Leslie Wheelock, who directs the Office of Tribal Relations in the nation's capitol.

She noted much of rural America is in need of high-speed internet access, especially on native lands. She says progress has been slow...

 

Ken Hammond-U.S.D.A.

A top official says she hopes to create a better dialog between tribal governments in Wisconsin and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tribal Relations Director Leslie Wheelock met in Mole Lake with tribal representatives and organizations in the region under the U.S.D.A. umbrella.

She says they want to get the word out about what they have to offer concerning economic development and a host of programs. She says that communication is one of the most difficult parts of her job as she has to get the word out to 566 tribal governments on all issues.....

 

Robert Ashworth

Providing broadband access is about more than just building infrastructure; education is also needed. 

That’s the message from Tithi Chattopadhyay, Broadband Chair for the state Public Service Commission.  She says people who don’t have access may not realize what they’re missing - especially when it comes to business owners. 

U-W Extension

The city of Rhinelander and the Oneida county board this week each passed resolutions hoping to jump start this region as a high-speed internet hot spot.

The county board resolved as a goal to make the county home to the best broadband opportunities of any rural county in Wisconsin. Later that day, the Rhinelander city council passed a similar resolution. The county board directed a committee to act as a conduit to Oneida County Economic Development for these matters.

UW-Extension Community Resource Development agent Tim Brown says the action sets a benchmark....

The Lac du Flambeau tribe is moving forward with a plan to bring high speed internet access to the Lakeland area.  The tribe has formed Ogema Communications, a company it hopes will deliver broadband access not only to tribal lands, but other parts of the Northwoods.  Tribal spokesman Brandon Thoms  says access to high-speed internet would stimulate job and business growth.

“There’s a huge need for reliable service throughout the Northwoods.  And the tribe is looking to fill that need, or fill that void through the creation of Ogema Communications.”

Peg Arnold

Putting together ways to provide faster internet to underserved areas of the Northwoods was the topic of a forum held recently in the White Pine Room at WXPR.

People from a private Internet provider, government, non-profit coalitions, tribal representatives, and education discussed the need for economic development and connecting to the outside world.

Rob Riordan from Cellcom says in the early days of telephone, the government required a little extra from customers to be able to help serve areas without service. That model could work for broadband...

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The Oneida County Board has seen the future, if it already isn't the present.

UW-Extension Community Resource Development Agent Tim Brown and businessman Don Sidlowski from Three Lakes presented board with what high-speed internet, or broadband will mean when fully implemented.

Rural residents have been lobbying for access to fast internet to help business and public agencies compete in an interconnected world.

At a special meeting Wednesday, Sidlowski and Brown showed the board why broadband should be a priority. Don Sidlowski...

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Northwoods residents have been calling for faster internet service in underserved areas. Money for more broadband service has been restored to the state budget after a group of rural legislators objected to it being cut.

34 District Representative Rob Swearingen says Governor Walker had said money for expanded service would be in the budget currently under construction. The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee pulled the $4.3 million from the budget. Swearingen says when they found out they acted to get it restored...

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