Gov. Evers announces grant to enhance broadband for Eagle River students

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 4:57 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 5:22 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Forest County Economic Development Partnership will receive a $100,000 Capacity Building Grant for a program to enhance broadband access to students in Eagle River.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced the grant in partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Public Service Commission Friday.

“Just as this past year has demonstrated, access to high-speed internet is a necessity and critical to how we live, learn, and work,” Gov. Evers said. “It’s the key that opens the door to new opportunities for our students, our communities, and our state, and will be vital to our state’s economic bounce back.”

The governor declared 2021 the Year of Broadband Access during his State of the State Address this year.

According to the governor, a key part of the testing program also began Friday with the announcement of a partnership between Wisconsin TeleLift and the Northland Pines School District. The six-month project will use Wisconsin TeleLift’s tethered drone platforms fitted with cell phone towers to provide high-speed internet access to the roughly 10% of district students who currently have none.

The Northland Pines School District, based in Eagle River, serves more than 1,300 students over 435 square miles in Vilas and Oneida counties, the governor’s office said. Superintendent Scott Foster said that while the district provides all students with Chromebooks and can provide hotspots, not all students are able to use them at home and parts of the district still lack cell service.

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