Waunakee Tribune | Legislative Opinion: Update on county broadband efforts

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The Oregon Observer | The Stoughton Courier Hub | Waunakee Tribune

Recently, there have been historic amounts of funding to expand broadband access throughout the country as well as Dane County. As a newly created Broadband Task Force, we’ve been navigating the intricacies and complexities of providing affordable, reliable internet access to every resident and business in Dane County.

Many of the funds for broadband expansion are offered through matching grants. Local governments applying for these grants need to demonstrate a lack of acceptable service.

If you’ve listened to any news segment regarding broadband access, you’ve likely heard that the current maps that show where there is service are inaccurate, which further obstructs the application process.

To bolster the effort to create more accurate maps of service coverage and speeds, the Broadband Task Force invited MadREP to present on their speed test efforts. We encourage members of the public to take two minutes to complete the test.

The more data that is collected the fuller our picture of broadband access issues in Dane County can be shown, and that information will be utilized by many organizations and units of government to expand access to provide affordable, reliable service to every resident.

The speed test is at madisonregion.org/industry-and-innovation/broadband/

In addition to needing accurate data, the task force also needs to hear from the public. Bit by bit we are putting together the full picture of broadband and access in Dane County, but the missing piece remains the feedback from those who struggle and are faced with a lack of service every day.

The task force has been and continues to encourage members of the public to contact them with comments, suggestions, and concerns related to affordable reliable internet access. To provide an opportunity for members of the public to speak directly to the task force, the task force will be holding two virtual public hearings.

The first hearing will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28 (register at bit.ly/228BBTF), and the second is set for 9-11:30 a.m. Friday, March 4 (register at (bit.ly/34BBTF)

In addition to the public hearings, residents can provide testimony through the following means: Call 608-266-5758, email Dane.Broadband.Task.Force@countyofdane.com or write to: Dane County Board of Supervisors, 210 MLK Jr. Blvd. Room 362, Madison WI 53703.

District 36 County Board Supervisor Melissa Ratcliff,

Chair of the Dane County Broadband Task Force

District 37 County Board Supervisor Kate McGinnity,

Vice-Chair of the Dane County Broadband Task Force

Article originally published on stoughtonnews.com, oregonobserver.com and hngnews.com/waunakee_tribune.