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Reedsburg Utility Commission received two grants from the state to expand its broadband to provide two Sauk County areas with internet access.

Reedsburg Utility Commission received $305,500 for a broadband expansion grant to connect a fiber backbone through the Village of Spring Green and $137,772 for a fiber deployment project in the Town of Delton. The two grants make up a total of $1.6 million awarded from the state to the 17th District for broadband expansion projects, including $308,384 to build three wireless towers in southern Lafayette County and a $240,000 grant for La Valle Telephone Cooperative to build a fiber to the premises service in Richland County in the Towns of Henrietta and Rockbridge and the town of Seven Mile Creek in Juneau County.

The six projects are expected to connect 140 businesses, 1,267 homes and eight community facilities, according to a press release from State Sen. Howard Marklien’s office.

The River Valley area project would extend into the Town of Spring Green providing internet access to the River Valley School District, Spring Green Fire District, Spring Green Post office, and Spring Green Town Hall. The project is expected to connect 35 businesses, eight community locations, and over 260 residential locations, according to a press release from the Reedsburg Utility Commission. According to the release, the grant will fund the first phase of the project, which includes constructing a fiber through Highbanks, Kennedy Road and Jones Road.

Reedsburg Utility Commission General Manager Brett Shauppner said the municipal owned utility and Town of Spring Green have been working together to try to figure out funding to bring internet access to its residents and businesses. He said the grants help cut down on the costs of the construction of the project. Excluding the grants the estimated costs would run about $770,000 between the Town of Spring Green, Sauk County, and Reedsburg Utility Commission, according to the release.

“The grants go towards the construction of the infrastructure to be able to deliver those services,” he said. “It’s to help make those economically feasible to build those projects.”

According to another press release from Reedsburg Utility, the Lake Delton project area is located south of the Village of Lake Delton and includes Mirror Lake State Park, the previous Highway 12 corridor and the Yellow Thunder Valley Subdivision, and is expected to serve 134 residential locations and 19 businesses. Both projects are estimated to begin construction in 2019. Shauppner said both project areas would be provided with Reedsburg Utility’s LightSpeed internet service, which offers one gigabyte service and unthrottled internet access.

Shauppner said those in the Lake Delton project could have internet service starting next year while portions of Spring Green could receive access towards late next year and into 2020.

“That one’s a little bigger project and it will take a little longer to get done,” Shauppner said of the Spring Green project.

Telecommuter Forward! Status

To go along with the grants, it was announced in a Sept. 28 press event the City of Reedsburg received Telecommuter Forward! Community Certification to show the city’s commitment to providing and serving its surrounding areas with internet access. The city becomes the fourth community in the state to receive the status.

Sen. Howard Marklien (R-Spring Green), Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), city officials, and members of the Public Service Commission were present for the announcement. Telecommuter Forward! Community certification, also known as Wisconsin Act 342, was introduced by Brooks and co-sponsored by Marklien. The act was signed into law in April 2018. Some of the requirements include a coordination and partnership with broadband providers, realtors, economic development professionals, employees, employers, and other telecommuting stakeholders, as well as promotion of telecommuter-friendly workspaces.

“It’s nice the city has been recognized for the efforts the city has taken basically entrusting Reedsburg Utility to do this and get where we are provide the leading edge internet service for the city and the surrounding area,” Shauppner said.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.