February 12, 2016Client Alert

Rural Broadband Improvement Coming to Wisconsin

Under a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) administered program called Connect America Fund II (CAFII), three telecommunications providers will receive $570 million in subsidies to expand and upgrade internet service in rural Wisconsin between now and 2020. The objective is to incentivize the providers to bring high speed internet service (download speeds of at least 10 megabit per second and upload speeds of at least 1 megabit per second) to roughly 230,000 locations (households or businesses) in areas of the state that would not normally receive it because of the cost of the build-out. The recipients of the funding must build 40% of their expansion commitment by the end of 2017, and all of it by the end of 2020. It is likely that the expansion will involve both wired (fiber optic cable) and wireless solutions.

Wisconsin came out ahead of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa, and is second only to California in funding allocated under the CAFII program. Extending high speed internet service to rural areas is extremely expensive, and the CAFII funding provides only a portion of each project’s cost. The CAFII funds help make the business case for the expansion projects.

For more information, please contact your Michael Best attorney or Steven L. Ritt at or 414.271.6560.

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