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Rural Wisconsin Residents to Benefit from a USDA-Funded Broadband Expansion Project

Carol Wetuski, USDA Rural Development Area Director, and Al Ripp, TDS Regional Marketing Manager cut the ribbon to mark commencement of construction on the broadband stimulus project. Wetuski and Ripp were joined by representatives and workers from InterCon Energy Services and TDS Telecom; and Green County Development Corporation Executive Director, Anna Schramke for the celebration.

It goes without saying that broadband-high speed internet has changed the way we live our lives.  And it should . . . this is the digital age.

For many it is hard to imagine how you would get by without it.  With access to the internet, one can easily sell a car, find and apply for a job, read the news, manage a business, or work from home.  The advantages of having broadband access is that you can connect to anywhere in the world on your terms, at your convenience, when you want – that is unless you live in rural America.

Today too few rural citizens are able to take advantage of the opportunities broadband provides; often because many communities in rural areas do not have adequate access to the infrastructure, or the only options are dial-up or satellite services that are slow and unreliable – making connection difficult.

Thanks to UTELCO. LLC, a TDS subsidiary located in Monroe, Wis., and USDA Rural Development, residents in rural Green County, Wis. will soon be able to conveniently access the World Wide Web, as ground recently has been broken to install 44 new miles of high-speed DSL broadband service.

The project, funded by the Broadband Initiative Program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and TDS Telecommunications Corp., will bring 21st century broadband service to more than 850 households, businesses, and community institutions in the region. Estimated completion is set for the summer of 2013.

“Broadband is a key element in driving community growth and promoting economic development,” said Al Ripp, Regional Marketing Manager for TDS. “However, rural geographies push the limits of technology and make it difficult to deploy broadband. The America Recovery and Reinvestment Act has given us the opportunity to make broadband available to these regions. Without the help of USDA, this project would not be possible.”

 

Workers from InterCon Energy Services begin to lay the first of 44 miles of new DSL broadband lines to provide service to unserved areas of Green County, Wis.

Ron Linder, Superintendent for InterCon Energy Services, explained that another exciting element is many of the employees directly working on this project are from Southwestern Wisconsin, living and raising their families in the communities that will be receiving the new services. InterCon Energy Services, a locally owned company, has been hired for the outside construction of the project.

 

 

 

According to the Green County Development Corporation Executive Director, Anna Schramke, the new and enhanced broadband access will open the door to economic growth in the county.  “As businesses grow and begin to look for people to fill new positions, it is important that they have access to current technologies and are able to compete in today’s market. Broadband is essential to the future of Green County; to thrive, grow, and be sustainable for generations to come. It is exciting to think of the opportunities before us.”

The state of Wisconsin was awarded $90.5 million, assisting 15 new projects, to expand broadband services through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The projects will benefit 25 Wisconsin counties by providing enhanced broadband services to thousands of rural residents and businesses, and creating nearly 825 jobs. The bottom line…..broadband access is a critical component in building an economy made to last.

To find out more about USDA broadband loan programs click here.

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