The Digital Access Team was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the prevalence of offsite/online learning modalities, digital access has become more important than ever. The team is focused on providing opportunities for K-12 students as well as post-secondary students to connect with internet-enabled devices as well as adequate internet access. The team is focused on the Brown County area and within the New North region, a region of Northeast Wisconsin comprised of 18 counties. This team consists of 12 community members who play important roles in connecting students as well as the community with the necessary devices and internet connectivity to succeed in work and life.
ABC’s Digital Access Team did a survey looking at the digital access needs of schools within the Brown County area. There are still schools in need of internet enabled devices (0-12% of students depending on school) and students needing adequate access to internet (6-25% of students depending on the school). According to the schools, it is a funding issue that prevents internet enabled devices to be in every student’s hands while the access to internet is more dependent on the consistency, speed and reliability of service in an individual home.
Brown County, a member of the Digital Access Team, has partnered with Geo Partners LLC, and is working to ensure that everyone has access to quality internet connectivity in the county region. To help us accomplish this goal, they are requesting that as many people as possible take an Internet Speed Test.
Through this speed test, you will testing your internet speed through the GEO crowdsourcing system. The data collected from your speed test will be added to Brown County speed test data and will be used to address existing broadband issues through:
- Identification of school districts that may need additional services for remote learning
- Identification of regions that are not being served but are near other regions that are served by an ISP. Regions not currently served may be able to negotiate for expansion of ISP service areas.
- Identification of regions that may already be defined as well-served but are actually not.
- Identification of regions where broadband is available, but unaffordable to some members of the community.
Click here to view the tests done to date.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive up to $50/month discount on services and associated rentals; $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands; and a one time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. The program will end when the fund runs out of money or 6 months after DHS declares the end to the COVID-19 health.