Friday, January 21, 2022


Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.


President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.


Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

New Federal Funds Address Broadband Dilemma for Rural WI Students


Friday, December 3, 2021   

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. -- Broadband gaps affect many facets of life, including education. The new federal infrastructure plan includes money to expand high-speed internet access, potentially making learning easier in rural Wisconsin.

The state is poised to receive at least $100 million to help with broadband gaps, with the possibility of more money based on need.

Kim Kaukl, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, said with broadband infrastructure still hard to come by in many remote areas, students face barriers, even in the absence of a global health crisis.

He pointed out being connected can give them a boost with day-to-day assignments.

"Many of our kids, when they get home, they do not have the connectivity," Kaukl explained. "Or, if they have the connectivity, they don't have the download speed to do the research that maybe they need to do for a report, or a project that they're working on."

He said even when many districts around the country were doing distance learning a year ago, smaller schools in Wisconsin had to get creative to maintain face-to-face time. He suggested it was the only real way to ensure learning was not disrupted.

As the funds are distributed, Kaukl emphasized he hopes local internet providers play a prominent role because of their connections to local communities.

Kaukl added establishing more Wi-Fi capability and higher download speeds not only helps families be prepared for the next crisis, but also for snow days. As for schools, the opportunities allow them to avoid falling behind in terms of technology.

"I would say many of our schools are pretty well set," Kaukl acknowledged. "But we've got some areas and pockets, yet that are still struggling with that."

Last year, 80% of districts in a survey from the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association said they need funding for technology training for staff.

According to federal officials, more than 5% of Wisconsin residents live in broadband infrastructure "deserts," and 14% of households don't have an internet subscription.

get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …

Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)


As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

Social Issues

Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021