Broadband

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The Executive Director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation says the advent of faster Internet service will make a potentially-game changing effort possible.

The Oneida County Technology Committee is seeking funding from federal and state sources…to help fuel broadband development. 

Chair Don Sidlowski says the committee is filing preliminary paperwork Friday for a grant program through the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. 

“It turns out that all of Oneida County, with the exception of Rhinelander, qualifies and so there’s a lot of places we can look in Oneida County for the federal dollars.”

An economic development summit in Lac du Flambeau begins Tuesday. 

The tribe’s spokesperson Brandon Thoms says it’s a way for businesses and leaders to share knowledge and build partnerships.                    

“Living here in the Northwoods sometimes we’re behind the times.  And so we’re trying to bring that up-to-speed, real-time information to our business community here in the Northwoods.” 

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Several Northwoods libraries are set to see improved broadband service by November. 

The Department of Administration and the Department of Public Instruction have announced a 4.2 million dollar expansion of BadgerNet through a partnership with several private companies.  The expansion will increase internet speeds for almost two thirds of the state’s libraries, including in Three Lakes, Eagle River, Crandon, and Mercer.  Libraries in Land o Lakes and Hurley will also benefit. 

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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. 

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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.”

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