For the City Times
Rural Wisconsin Initiative Legislation Gains Bi-Partisan Support
MADISON — Rural broadband was the center of legislative attention on Tuesday, as the State Senate passed legislation to increase funding for grants aimed at improving connectivity.
The legislation, co-authored by Representative Romaine Quinn (Rice Lake) and Senators Howard Marklein (Spring Green) and Patrick Testin (Stevens Point), allocates $23 million for broadband expansion. Of that, $7.5 million will go to fund the Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Program, which subsidizes much of the cost to deliver telecommunications access to schools, libraries, and other educational institutions.
“We must ensure that the tools the next generation needs are available statewide,” said Sen. Testin. “I’ve met with school superintendents, business owners, and health care providers who all talk about the importance of having reliable rural internet access. This bill makes a significant investment in our broadband infrastructure and our future.”
The bill, which was introduced in February as part of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, will next be taken up by the State Assembly.