PCS introduces tool to address state bandwidth needs

By KRISTEN KLAHN - Special to The Freeman

March 22, 2014

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has launched an online tool designed to help residents and businesses estimate their bandwidth needs.  

The LinkWISCONSIN Bandwidth Assessment Tool has users complete an online assessment. Once finished, the BAT provides residents and businesses with a report estimating how much bandwidth they need based on their daily usage.  

This tool is part of the PSC’s mission to address bandwidth needs throughout the state, said Phil Montgomery, chairperson of the PSC of Wisconsin.  

“Wisconsin residents and businesses have an increasing demand for broadband. This is fueled by the realized benefits of information, communication and commerce over the Internet,” Montgomery said in a statement.  

“However, consumers currently do not have the necessary tools to help them determine their broadband needs, and as a result there exist pockets of unmet demand around the state. The Bandwidth Assessment Tool is one step in the process to meet Wisconsin’s broadband needs,” Montgomery said.  

Wisconsin Dashboard, a website that provides data and information regarding Wisconsin’s broadband usage, shows a comparison of counties’ populations with access to broadband with a speed of at least 3 megs. Counties that have the smallest populations with access to 3 megs include Taylor County, 51.33 percent; Clark County, 54.18 percent; Richland County, 57.36 percent; Florence County, 58.67 percent; and Forest County, 61.21 percent.

Waukesha County residents ranked second in the state, with 99.02 percent of the population having access to at least 3 megs.  

The BAT also tells Internet service providers where they can find new customers who have connectivity needs that may be going unmet. Consumers also have the option to receive a comprehensive list of broadband providers that serve their specific location and can request providers contact them with service offerings.  

In addition, the survey will work to better inform the state on where to direct funding to deploy and enhance broadband services.  

To take the survey or learn more about BAT, visit www.linkwisconsin.org/lwi/bat.htm