Connect Americans Now: Applauds Wisconsin’s broadband resolution

Contact: Zachary Cikanek
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Among the first in the United States, Wisconsin Legislature passes resolution calling on the FCC to take action on TV white spaces.

Madison, WI – Connect Americans Now (CAN) today applauded the Wisconsin Assembly’s passage of Joint Resolution 100, which encourages “the use of television white space technology to increase access to the Internet.” CAN Executive Director Richard T. Cullen joined members of the Wisconsin Legislature to introduce the legislation in early January.

“As leaders in Washington begin debating a package to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, CAN and the Wisconsin Legislature are advocating for a solution that will reduce the cost of connecting rural America by 80 percent compared to fiber alone,” Cullen said. “With the passage of this resolution and the leadership of Governor Walker, we are sending a clear message to Washington: it’s time to support innovative solutions that will close the digital divide once and for all.”
The resolution keeps Wisconsin at the forefront of TV white space technology. Governor Walker has been an outspoken advocate, raising the issue during an infrastructure meeting at the White House, his State of the State address and issuing a press releasesupporting TV white space technology.
Additionally, ten Wisconsin-based organizations have already joined the fast-growing CAN coalition, including the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe.
To provide affordable and reliable service in rural communities, CAN seeks to deploy a combination of “wired” and “wireless” technologies, including fiber-based, satellite, and wireless technologies, leveraging a range of frequencies, including TV white spaces. To make this plan a reality, CAN is urging the FCC to ensure that three channels below 700 MHz are available for wireless use on an unlicensed basis in every market in the country, with additional TV white spaces in smaller markets and rural areas.
“We hear from constituents every week asking us when broadband will finally reach their doors,” State Representative Mary Felzkowski said in a press release announcing the resolution. “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,” State Senator Howard Marklein said in a press release announcing the resolution. “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.”
About Connect Americans Now 
Connect Americans Now is a group of concerned citizens, local organizations, rural advocates and leading innovators committed to eliminating the digital divide that is holding back rural America. Our goal is to bring rural Americans who currently lack connectivity safe and affordable broadband access by 2022 so they can take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities that exist in other communities.