Solon Springs, Wis., town board chairperson Angela Botner has partnered with local provider Astrea to apply for an up to $650,000 broadband expansion grant from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
(TNS) — The stories are piling up: A small business hampered by slow internet speeds, a family unable to stream Netflix, slow service for students learning virtually, business owners whose internet gets so overloaded they can't send an email; families choosing between running the computer or their three phones. Provided by residents in the towns of
To make their case, they're seeking testimonials and letters of support from businesses and individuals on how underserved, poorly served or unserved people are. If current access inhibits what residents can do now or if improved infrastructure could enable things that are currently not possible, they want to add it to the narrative.
"These testimonials play a very large role in the success of the grant being approved because they are the best way to represent the strong need the community has for high-speed internet," said Katelyn Quinn, brand and community manager for Astrea.
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Astrea, headquartered in
"So just around the corner from me," Botner said. "I'm one of the lucky ones. I get 10 MB through
While speeds in the village can reach 25MB, she said, people on the other side of
"Most people are stuck with one and a half, three, five," Botner said. "It's ridiculous. People can't function at those speeds."
"I've just been hearing for so long from a lot of people how terrible (access) is," Botner said.
The pandemic reinforced that, as the
Astrea has applied for a few grants in the past, and some have been successful. Quinn said community support and impactful stories can increase the chance for a community to secure a grant. There is no cost to the community for the grant, but Quinn said if a local organization offered to chip in a few hundred dollars to show its support for the project, it can increase the odds.
Even if people aren't in the proposed expansion area, their stories are needed. If the towns and Astrea secure this grant, they plan to seek additional funding in future rounds.
"This could potentially pave the way for future expansions in other areas of
The letters don't have to be long, and they're due by
"Any and all support is valuable, whether it be a sentence or two or a few paragraphs or pages,"' Quinn said. "The more support we can include, the better."
(c)2020 the Superior Telegram (Superior, Wis.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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