broadband

Broadband Expansion: Rural Wisconsin Needs the Real Deal

Kathleen Vinehout
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“All we seek is help to get the basic broadband services that you all take for granted,” Justin Fortney from Clifton Township in Pierce County wrote to me.  “It has been frustrating for us families to watch the digital revolution pass us by…We often…pack the family into the car and drive to a relative’s house or commercial business to use their Internet.”
 
According to the federal government’s most recent information, Wisconsin ranks last in the Midwest in both rural and urban broadband access with only 44% of rural folks accessing download speeds of 25 Mbps.
 
Both federal and state governments responded with grant programs to expand broadband but there are problems with assuring that residents actually receive the promised services.
 
With much fanfare, Governor Walker recently announced his plan to add money for broadband to schools and rural areas. Later, Senator Marklein released a different bill. The Senator’s bill was voted out of his rural affairs committee and is headed for final passage soon.

Have an Opinion about Your Internet Connection? Let Your Voice be Heard!

Kathleen Vinehout
Editor's Note - I am one of the people in the state who is blessed with a great Internet connection by virtue of belonging to a phone co-op that has invested in infrastructure. My rural farm house has fiber connection for phone, tv, and internet. Most are not so blessed. Let your voice be heard, and fill us in in the comment section about your own internet experience.
Have an Opinion about Your Internet Connection? Let Your Voice be Heard!
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Do you have a great Internet connection? Less than what you’d prefer? Makes it impossible for you to do your work or your children’s homework? No service at all?
 
Make your opinion known!
 
The state is taking a survey of how Wisconsinites connect to the Internet. The survey is free – and ironically – available online. Those without Internet – or such a slow connection they cannot fill out a survey – can let their voice be heard by calling the following toll-free phone number - (877) 360-2973.
 
Home connections and businesses are measured in separate surveys. You can reach the residential survey here: https://www.research.net/r/WI_PSC_broadband_survey
Businesses can voice their opinion here: https://www.research.net/r/WI_PSC_business_broadband_survey
 

Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?

Kathleen Vinehout
Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“I don’t want to promise you fiber where fiber is not going to come,” Kent Disch, AT&T Wisconsin External Affairs Director, told Ellsworth community leaders.
 
Pierce County business leaders and elected officials gathered with telecommunication company representatives and local cooperatives to push for resolution to Internet problems.
 
Business leaders asked companies why they would not or could not bring services to businesses that were more than willing to pay. A concrete company owner noted his company is growing but lack of good broadband “is a bottleneck.”  Broadband is needed to prosper.
 
One after another, the business leaders, county board members, and a former mayor shared community problems. People could not join mandatory webinars or attend virtual conference meetings. Locals frequently experienced dropped Internet connections. The Internet would not work at certain times of the day.

Lack of Rural Broadband Frustrates Fairgoers

Kathleen Vinehout
August 19, 2014
 
Lack of Rural Broadband Frustrates Fairgoers
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“It’s pedal to the metal on broadband policy—for both consumers and competitors,” said Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler at a recent address to the Brookings Institute as reported on a Brookings website.
 
Internet in rural Wisconsin is closer to Pony Express than “pedal to the metal.”
 
That’s the general consensus of folks at the Pierce County Fair.
 
“AT&T is the largest carrier in the world and they won’t come to my house,” Tammy Tollefson told me. AT&T provided phone service to her rural Pierce County residence but not broadband. “We are literally the last mile,” she said.

More AT&T power grabbing: GOP budget measure threatens major UW-based Internet service

[img_assist|nid=55349|title=Greed not good|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=175|height=131]Months ago I wrote here about how, with newly installed Republican majorities in the legislature and Scott Walker in the governor's chair, AT&T and other telcoms were again pushing yet another, major telecommunications deregulation bill. A bill which in fact has since become law. But highly profitable AT&T and competing private telcoms aren't done grabbing more power for themselves.

First, Scott Walker killed high-speed rail. Now his Republican enablers in the Legislature seem ready to kill affordable high-speed Internet for Wisconsin schools and other public institutions. So much for pushing technological progress, economic development and better schools; we've got corporate mouths to feed!

On these principles, Wis GOP is double-down incontinent

[img_assist|nid=55336|title=Double down|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=175|height=167]Here's our latest roundup of major inconsistencies in the work of those purportedly oh-so-principled Wisconsin Republicans:

1. The party that has screamed loudly about so-called "takings" laws and rulings that allow governments to condemn or otherwise acquire private property is now proposing to enact what amounts to ... a new takings law. The provision, set for the budget bill, would make it much easier for private power-line companies to blow through private property in order to erect new cross-country transmission lines, and the state Department of Transportation to grab private lands in order to widen highways and build new ones. 

Forward -- into the past!

[img_assist|nid=50845|title=Telcom tower|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=150|height=150]After Scott Walker killed a billion dollars' worth of federal investment in Wisconsin high-speed rail, his team began making sure that another high-speed service -- broadband Internet along with telephony -- will be more costly and less available, especially in some rural areas of the state.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature has enacted the latest wet dream of the state's telcom industry -- with gargantuan AT&T at the forefront. Gov. Walker has promised to sign the measure into law. [Democrats, though in the minority of both houses, voted in disappointingly large numbers along with Republicans. Telcom money flows mostly to the GOP, but Democrats do get a taste]

They're AT&T it again

 

It's a new day in Wisconsin politics, and to swipe a tag line from "Poltergeist II," that '80s Hollywood scare flick, "They're baaaaack!"

By "they," I refer to the state's telecommunications (or “telcom”) industry. Once again, like the poltergeists in the movie, telecom providers are reaching out from your video monitors and telephones, to siphon some more cash out of your pocket or remove your service altogether because you don't have enough money -- or, possibly even, because of your politically incorrect thinking.

Subscribe to RSS - broadband