While legislators from both major political parties agreed with Governor Tony Evers that Wisconsin needs to do more broadband, or high-speed internet expansion, a northern legislator says all broadband installation is not the same.
State Senator Janet Bewley of the Ashland area says the approach the Evers administration is likely to take differs from the previous Walker administration..
"...The Republicans are satisfied to let the private sector decide where they want to go with their expansion. The grants are made available in such a way that the areas where the large telecoms want to put in broadband are the ones that get the awards...."
Bewley says the Democrats will have a different approach...
"..The Democrats, however, want to start in the opposite direction and go from need. Not from who wants to put it in but where is the highest need. Who does not have broadband to begin with? Put the money there. It's a different orientation. It is one that says broadband is a part of infrastructure like electricity. We're not going to say, 'no we're not going to go there because we can't make money'..."
Much of western, southern and southeastern Wisconsin has broadband service with less service in northwestern, north central and assorted rural areas.
About 78 percent of Wisconsin households had a broadband internet subscription from 2013 to 2017. Neighboring Minnesota has about 81 percent coverage.