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Broadband applicants seek $420+ million

Posted at 5:05 p.m. on July 28, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) announced today its preliminary count of 240 applications received requesting more than $420 million for the first round of broadband funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The PSC is expected to award $100 million in the early fall of 2021 for projects that will expand high-speed broadband internet to unserved and underserved locations in the state.

Internet service providers, telecommunications utilities, cooperatives, local governments, and for-profit and non-profit organizations were eligible to apply for grants.

The Commission will approve projects that will be completed by December 31, 2024, and there was no minimum or maximum amount of funding an applicant could request. In addition to following federal guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department, the PSC will evaluate broadband projects based on applicant capacity, capability, performance, planning, project budget, proposed matching funds, and the proposed service area's existing broadband service needs.

Funds will be disbursed through a reimbursement process similar to the current process for the state Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

In addition to the $100 million in ARPA funding, the 2021-2023 Biennial State Budget, signed by Governor Evers earlier this month, provides $129 million in state grant funding over the next two years. Details about that funding will be announced in the coming weeks.


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