Increased access to broadband provides opportunities across a wide range of areas, including positive impacts to economies, education, health, and quality of life.
For more information on how broadband specifically connects to economic development, check out the WIndicator Report on Broadband in Economic Development.
Note: This is shared for educational purposes; UW does not endorse any specific option.
Free. Meetings for a limited number of participants for up to 40 minutes.
$14.99 per month. Up to 100 participants per meeting. No time limit. Zoom is available free for educational use. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/13/how-to-use-zoom-for-online-learning/.
Free – Restrictions vary based on whether they are using Google Suite or regular Gmail as a host account. https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/g-suite/helping-businesses-and-schools-stay-connected-in-response-to-coronavirus.
Free during the pandemic. https://help.webex.com/en-us/n80v1rcb/Cisco-Webex-Available-Free-in-These-Countries-COVID-19-Response.
Microsoft has tools within their MS Teams platform, both for paid and free users available as part of their response to the pandemic. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/03/05/our-commitment-to-customers-during-covid-19/.
Increasing access to broadband and increasing internet speed provides opportunities across a wide range of areas, including positive impacts to economies, education, health, and quality of life.
During covid-19, access to broadband and reasonable internet speed is particularly valuable for healthy distancing, telecommuting, economic development, and education. This is a uniquely difficult time. As much as possible, many of us are staying home to keep each other safe. At home, we may be experiencing slow internet. It is understandably frustrating to work from home with slow internet speeds, for students to try and do homework, and for people to try and keep social networks active. This can all be frustrating — and, another opportunity for us to be patient and empathetic towards ourselves and others.
The Internet Resources for Wisconsin Residents During a Public Health Emergency page of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) helps in identifying providers in your area, along with efforts the companies are making to increase accessibility to internet services. This information is useful if you are behind in paying your internet bills.
Wisconsin Broadband Map
The Wisconsin Broadband Map can help in identifying broadband providers in your area. This map shows a range of technologies, including mobile cellular and satellite connections, which may need to be explored as options in particularly underserved areas. Click on the map in your area of interest and use the areas in the pop-up box to cycle through possible providers. Please note that this map may not be accurate.
Mobile Hotspot Program
If your place of residence is home to a student, some school districts have implemented a mobile hotspot program as a resource for students. For this reason, you may want to reach out to your local school district to learn about potential additional additional details and opportunities.
Public Wi-Fi Access Points
You may want to use public wi-fi access points in your community. Some facilities, such as public libraries, may allow members of the public to access their network from a car in a parking lot.
Potentials to Increase Home Internet Service
You may already have internet access at home but speeds may be slower. If so, call your internet provider to get their recommendations on increasing the internet speed.
Improved Health Care
Online records make it easier to communicate with doctors about health status and treatment options, resulting in better medical services. This can also help decrease treatment and administrative costs of obtaining health care. It is possible to receive test results online, and patients can research specific medical conditions, medications, and treatments, and the quality of hospitals and doctors.
More Education Options
Broadband makes it possible for elementary, middle, and high school students to complete homework assignments, access advanced topics, and complete college applications. Access to online classes increases opportunities for K-12 students while providing professional development and career advancement opportunities. This leads to a more competitive workforce and higher quality of life.
Stronger Local & Regional Economy
Investments in broadband infrastructure strengthen regional economies through increased business innovation and productivity. Broadband helps businesses expand market reach and customer bases. Broadband infrastructure is associated with a higher level of entrepreneurial activity. It also creates a more dynamic job market with shorter job searches and is connected with increased productivity, flexibility, and incomes. Towns with less access to broadband are falling behind economically (Wisconsin State Journal).
Telecommuting & Social Networking
Broadband enables connections with people across distances.
Source: Adapted from “Economic Impacts of Broadband Access and Availability” by Eric Biltonen, UW-Extension St. Croix County (2016).
Green County has a multi-stakeholder broadband committee that comes together when opportunities to increase access to broadband become possible. This committee came together as a result of a Green County Leaders project. It is led by Green County Development Corporation, and Extension Green County is a proud partner.
Green County Broadband Committee
- Cara Carper, Green County Development Committee
- Tom Daly, Towns Association
- Todd Kriebs, Family Fresh Pack
- Kristie Leonard, Green County Board
- Stephen Scanlan, Monticello
- Jeff Skatrud, Green County Sheriff Department
- Victoria Solomon, Extension Green County
- Robert Sommers, Green County Land Information Office
Since the committee started in 2017, Green County has received:
- $414,000 as part of a grant from the Public Service Commission to increase access to high speed internet in Green County. This project built and equipped four towers to provide a fixed wireless service in four towns in Green County. Green County Development Corporation was the lead grant applicant with Bug Tussel on a fixed wireless project. This grant application was approved in 2018.
- $1,000,371 as part of a grant from the Public Service Commission for Hilbert Communications, LLC to increase the fiber route from Blanchardville to New Glarus to Brodhead. This route is part of a larger plan for a fiber ring in Green County that would support service to 3,379 businesses and 36,929 residential locations if both phases are built. This grant application was approved in 2020.
- Victoria Solomon, Community Resource Educator, Extension Green County at (608) 328-9440 or Victoria.Solomon@wisc.edu.