Broadband bill would target underserved rural areas

Broadband bill would target underserved rural areas

Republican lawmakers are circulating a bill to expand broadband service in underserved parts of the state.

The bill made public Tuesday is sponsored by Rep. Romaine Quinn and Sen. Howard Marklein. It would allocate $15.5 million in grants for rural areas. Almost a quarter of Wisconsinites live in rural areas and around 40 percent do not have broadband, or high-speed internet access, at home.

Quinn and other Republican lawmakers focused on improving life in rural Wisconsin plan to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the broadband bill and other initiatives to improve health care access and job creation.

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal released last week included an additional $35 million for broadband, which includes the grants. A significant portion will go toward schools and educational institutions.