The state Public Service Commission wants to make it easier for residents in rural areas to access broadband services.
Using federal funding, the PSC has been working to develop a database of what broadband options are available across Wisconsin. PSC Telecommunications Administrator Gary Evenson says they’re making a comprehensive statewide map that will show where broadband is and is not available, along with how many providers are present and where their coverage extends.
Evenson says they hope to launch a website soon where residents can plug in their address, allowing them to see what broadband services are available in their area. He says the intent is to also allow the public to see what kinds of providers are present.
The PSC is hopeful that the map will help identify underserved areas, which could encourage providers to begin building new infrastructure. Evenson says being able to see where gaps exist or areas with less coverage could be enough incentive to get into the market.
However, Evenson admits many parts of the state that currently have no broadband access are in that position because cost of expanding or putting equipment there is too prohibitive. He says the state may need to look at ways to subsidize providers to get them interested in making in the investment.