State Senator says Wisconsin’s total broadband investments total $2.8B


State Senator says Wisconsin’s total broadband investments total $2.8B

A Wisconsin Senator says the total dollars dedicated to broadband expansion in the state exceeds 2.8 billion dollars.

Howard Marklein says a tremendous amount of public funding for broadband expansion has been allocated to Wisconsin through several federal programs on top of what Wisconsin taxpayers have spent on the program and previous federal programs before the pandemic. 

Marklein says state taxpayers have invested 73 million dollars into broadband expansion since the fiscal year 2014 and federal coronavirus funds add another 1.3 billion.  He says 1.1 billion of the federal funds is coming from the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was recently passed.

Marklein says there is more than 680 million in private funding and there are also some direct-funded federal broadband expansions where the dollars do not flow through the state, including the Connect American Fund, the USDA Reconnect program, and the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. 

Marklein says it often costs telecommunications companies about 35 thousand dollars a mile to bury fiber, and much of the fiber and machinery needed are in short supply.