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Feb 27, 201810:11 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Continued progress on Wisconsin broadband will require mix of technologies

(page 2 of 2)

The Wisconsin Assembly passed a resolution Feb. 22 to support “white space” technology, which could help prompt state pilot programs like those in other states and encourage the FCC to set aside unlicensed spectrum in each state in the 600 megahertz to 700 megahertz range. The resolution was immediately sent to the Senate, where action is pending.

Speaking Feb. 20 to the Tech Council Innovation Network in Madison, state broadband director Angie Dickison agreed it will likely take a mix of technologies to fill out Wisconsin’s broadband portfolio — which is improving due to private investment, federal initiatives, state aid, and community partnerships.

“Our broadband expansion grant program is agnostic … We’re in a wonderful time that we have all of these different (technology) options in front of us so that Wisconsin communities will potentially have choices,” Dickison said.

The same philosophy was on display in Washington, where federal policymakers were among those who spoke Feb. 14 at an annual gathering of CompTIA, the nation’s largest tech group. Democrats and Republicans alike emphasized the need for flexibility in government rules so that broadband technologies will be free to compete.

In Wisconsin, where thousands of people are still stranded on the wrong side of the “digital divide,” having that measure of choice is welcome.

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Feb 28, 2018 07:52 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Thank you for this as hundreds of thousands of people (not just rural but in inner city black and Latino communities) are on the wrong side of the digital divide. Having internet access problems in my new home on the border of a major black community - I email a friend who runs a lot of online work from his home in rural Dane for help. He linked me to a website that gave me upload and download speeds, I ran the test and yes I was getting 15% of what my contract said I should have. I sent him the results and he replied that his access literally 2 miles from Epic was far worse at times zero. What is interesting in the access discussion is nothing is ever said about accountability. We tend to have "up to" marketing and contracts in internet services. I can't sell you and up to one pound loaf of bread that is actually 2 ounces but many of us are paying for internet access that is a fraction of what we are supposed to have.

Mar 1, 2018 05:52 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The public, both rural and urban should be aware that many millions of dollars have been provided over several decades to bring broadband to rural areas of Wisconsin. The governmental fees and outright grants are given to ILECs (Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, such as AT&T, Frontier, TDS, etc.) specifically for rural broadband expansion. The ILECS can prevent a competitive company from providing service within their designated area, even if they let their lines, poles, and customers rot away. The ILECSs do take that money and put it into new housing developments that would get broadband anyway. If politicians really care, they would require accountability with the money that is given to them, and allow CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) to compete for those funds and those rural areas. Opening up White Spaces and 5G Small Cell Technology is only good for the cell phone providers, and would not come close to addressing the real issue of rural broadband and the millions of dollars being handed out for it.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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