PSC: Names four more broadband regional planning teams

Contact: Teresa Weidemann-Smith, (608) 266-9600

Also a minor change and addition made to earlier announced Regions 2 and 4

MADISON – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) today named another four Regional Planning Teams to assist in the broadband planning efforts currently underway statewide, in connection with funding Wisconsin has received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act). Earlier this year, the PSC and the broadband mapping contractor, LinkAMERICA Alliance, divided the state into nine planning regions and with these newly named teams, have appointed six of the nine regions. The remaining three regional teams will be named in the future.

The teams named, comprised of leaders of community, business and public sector organizations, will cover four regions that together include 41 counties. In northwest Wisconsin, Region 3 covers ten counties. Region 5, the largest of the nine regions, covers 18 counties in central and northeast Wisconsin. In southwest Wisconsin, Region 7 covers five counties, and Region 8 in south central Wisconsin covers seven counties. A map of the regions and their counties is included below.

LinkAMERICA and PSC staff worked primarily with regional economic development groups including Momentum West in Region 3, New North in Region 5, BEST in Region 7 and Thrive in Region 8 to identify teams in those regions. Regional planning teams are multi-­sector groups from each region who will provide input into the development of regional broadband plans. Planning teams will:

* Provide coordination with on-­going existing planning initiatives in each region.

* Share data on counties, communities, demographics, economy and broadband needs.

* Provide feedback on accuracy of current broadband maps and other regional data.

* Identify sectors that could benefit from increased broadband access and adoption.

* Determine priorities around which the region’s broadband investment plan should initially focus to have the greatest impact for the region.

* Help identify data, resources and leadership needed to implement priority investments.

* Provide guidance to the LinkWISCONSIN staff in drafting regional broadband investment plans.

The PSC received Recovery Act funding to conduct a 5-year broadband mapping and planning project called LinkWISCONSIN. The broadband map will be used as a tool by the teams to develop and implement regional investment plans. The plans will focus on strategies to deploy broadband to un-served and underserved areas of Wisconsin, and to increase adoption and use of broadband in the state.

The PSC also approved changes to Regions 2 and 4. Region 2’s new health care representative, Howard Dobizl, IT Executive of Ministry Health Care will replace Fred Bouwman who will serve as an alternate. In Region 4, William Browne, IT Administrator at Ho-Chunk, has been appointed tribal representative.

For more information on coverage areas, Wisconsin’s interactive map and more information about broadband mapping and planning efforts, visit