Wisconsin (WQOW) – There is a big boost on the way for getting people in rural Wisconsin connected to the internet.
Thursday, the FCC approved $163 million for rural broadband aid to Wisconsin communities over the next 10 years. Locally, more than $81 million of it will be used in western Wisconsin.
Wisconsin ranks toward the bottom of internet-connected states. Close to 1/5 of the state has limited or no access to high-speed internet. The FCC said the new funding would bring broadband to more than 21,000 new locations.
Tri-County Communications Cooperative, which serves Eau Claire, Buffalo, Jackson and Trempealeau counties will receive more than $32 million, ($32,132,785).
Rural Communications Holding, serving Barron, Pierce, Rusk and Sawyer counties will get more than $30 million, ($30,335,435).
Baldwin Telecom, which covers parts of St. Croix and Pierce counties will get more than $10 million, ($10,276,693).
The Bloomer Telephone Company, which provides broadband to parts of Chippewa and Dunn counties will receive nearly $9 million, ($8,879,370).
Nationwide, $4.9 billion is scheduled to be paid out over the next decade.