Working To Connect Rural Wisconsin

State Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), along with several other Republicans, unveiled a Joint Resolution Wednesday morning that focuses on TV White Space technology and how it may help connect Wisconsinites, especially those in rural areas, to affordable and reliable broadband.

Experts at Microsoft has stated that through its development, TV White Space technology has reached the capability to deliver high speed internet that operates four times faster and reaches sixteen time farther than current Wi-Fi. This technology uses frequency that allows for it to move through objects like hills and foliage. It is currently estimated that TV White Space may be able to reach 80% of the rural population not currently receiving any broadband access.

“We hear from constituents every week asking us when broadband will finally reach their doors,” Felzkowski said. “It is often a frustrating process for them and for us because we cannot always do something to help. With this joint resolution, we continue to prioritize broadband connectivity by pursuing yet another option that may have the ability to deliver internet faster and further than current technology allows.”

“Broadband expansion in rural southwest Wisconsin is one of my top priorities,” Sen. Marklein said. “I am encouraged by the potential of this technology and I want to do everything I can to remove obstacles for possible solutions. When we passed the state budget, we fine-tuned the grant program so that new technology would be eligible for state support. The white space opportunity demonstrates exactly why we must be nimble and willing to try new technology to meet the needs of rural families.”

Last fall, several elected officials, including Rep. Felzkowski, wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling on them to do everything in their power to make TV White Space a reality so that those in the most need can have the tools they need to succeed. The FCC would need to create regulatory certainty to stabilize the market for equipment development and manufacturing.

The joint resolution co-sponsorship is being circulated today. It is expected to be discussed within both houses this spring.