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Grow North's Beyer To Lead Task Force On Broadband Access

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A task force on broadband access will be chaired by the head of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Governor Evers last week created the task force to what should be done getting the fastest internet to the most people. Brittany Beyer of Grow North will chair the Task Force.

Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley says the state has used a system of local grants to spur development. She says the task force will likely continue to use this method, but it hasn't worked across the board...

"There's still areas that aren't getting it. It's still not working. So this committee has been formed. Of course they're going to continue with the broadband expansion grants, but they're going to try to figure out why there are these extremely hard to service areas..."

Bewley says a big problem is density. She says there are just a few households in a mile which isn't profitable for providers. She doesn't think the public will want to spend much tax money, but she says the task force needs to figure out a way to get it to everyone...

"...but we've got to figure out a way. Just because you live a quarter-of-a-mile from a neighbor doesn't mean you don't need or deserve access to affordable broadband..."

27 percent of Wisconsin household lack access to high-speed internet. Evers said the COVID-19 outbreak has underscored the broadband inequalities from one location to another, from homes, to schools, to healthcare, to businesses.

Besides Beyer, other area members on the task force are Lori Collins of SonicNet, Incorporated of Eagle River, Chris Meyer of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, and State Representatives Jeff Mursau of Crivitiz, and Beth Meyers of Bayfield.

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