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Concerns come with progress on broadband project

First, I’d like to thank Sheriff Joski for his years of informing Kewaunee County residents as to the goings on in the Sheriff’s Department. This column is an important way for people to know what their county government does. In this article, I’d like to give an update on the county’s efforts to improve internet accessibility to the county. Back in 2019, we began a partnership with Bug Tussel Wireless to submit a grant application to construct seven towers to provide improved broadband accessibility to the rural areas of Kewaunee County. We received a grant from the state for $960,000. Since that time, the equipment has gone up on nine towers with number 10 coming online shortly. We have continued our partnership and strategy to seek grant funding to assist in bringing better internet to our residents. In 2020, we submitted an application and were awarded a grant for $1.4 million to install 62 miles of fiber optic cable in Kewaunee County to improve access and increase speed and capacity for those who are using towers to connect to the internet. In 2022, we submitted another application and were awarded $1.3 million to install another 62 miles of fiber in the county. Over the last five years, Kewaunee County has received over $3.7 million in grant funding for projects totaling over $10.2 million. The great thing about this is that this improvement is costing Kewaunee County taxpayers nothing. In our agreement with Bug Tussel, the County loans a portion of the funds to Bug Tussel, which is paid back to the County with interest. This is truly a win-win for Kewaunee County.

 

While this is great news for county residents, the installation of fiber has raised some concerns with homeowners as yards and property have been dug up as part of the installation. Holes and trenches have been made to assist in burying the conduit (or tubes) which hold the fiber. We ask for your patience and understanding as this work is being done. Another concern has been raised in the villages of Luxemburg and Casco. Residents in those villages have experienced (or will likely experience) their yards being disturbed twice as two different internet providers will be installing fiber in their communities. Cellcom (NSight) has agreements with Luxemburg and Casco to install fiber to the home in those communities. In addition, as part of their grant award, Bug Tussel agreed to extend fiber out by 1000 feet from the middle mile being laid throughout the county. This has resulted in some places having the property disturbed twice. Please remember that with the installation of fiber in your community, you are not obligated to sign up for service. Neither are you required to sign up with a specific provider. The choice is always yours.

 

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed. If you have any questions about broadband or other county issues, please feel free to contact me at feldt.scott@kewauneeco.org. 

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