April 18, 2014

Mapping out Internet coverage

WisconsinDashboard.org

WisconsinDashboard.org

A statewide survey aims to find gaps in broadband Internet coverage.

Officials are undertaking an effort to accurately assess the Internet needs of Wisconsin residents and businesses by using a location-based demand survey. Tithi chattopadhyay (pronounce) is Wisconsin’s first statewide broadband director — head of high-speed Internet. “The goal of the survey is actually to collect data about what people have in terms of Internet service, whether they are satisfied with it, and if not, what they desire and how much they are willing to pay.”

The information will be compiled together and put onto a color-coded map. Chattopadhyay says officials can see exactly where online access is abundant or lacking, and whether there are clusters of demand for better service — for current and future use.

They are seeking information from both residents and businesses. “Once we have it mapped, we are hoping we can then have a conversation with providers of how … maybe they can directly reach out to these communities and businesses or if there are some obstacles in the way then we can address what those obstacles are.”

The goal of the LinkWISCONSIN project is to collect accurate data for providers and policy leaders at the local and state level for future broadband planning. Officials believe fostering better broadband access across the state encourages investment in infrastructure; it also makes it easier to attract start-ups and businesses that rely on data to provide a service to customers.

If you can’t get online to fill out the electronic survey, there will be paper questionnaires sent via the U.S. mail to certain or you can call the PSC to obtain a copy. PSC at 608-267-2338.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) and UW Extension along with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) have teamed up to get the word out about the survey, which is available now through May 30th.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:45