Last week, Governor Scott Walker made several stops handing out money set aside in the state budget for broadband development in rural Wisconsin.
While in Antigo, Walker said the projects near Land O' Lakes, White Lake in Langlade county and Mattoon in Shawano county highlight a need in the Northwoods: better high-speed internet.
He says this is especially true in the tourism-dependent Northwoods...
"....when you can travel, you can come here from anywhere in the country, particularly in the key markets we advertise to, which is Chicago and the Twin Cities. The people want to know, particularly when they are on vacation, that they have access to the technology they are used to and if they don't, they're not going to come in the first place or they're not going to come back...."
Tourism industry spokespersons say the lack of broadband has been a negative to encouraging urban travelers to relax in the Northwoods, as they like to bring their digital devices with them. The state budget has $1.5 million dollars in it for broadband expansion. State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of LaCrosse says the funding the Walker Administration has allocated doesn't go far enough....
"....it's the connectivity in those communities and those homes. Businesses love the quality of life here, be up here, grow a business here, but also be connected to a global world because of broadband...."
Shilling says broadband is part of a larger theme regarding infrastructure the Democrats would like to discuss.