Broadband Internet and the Wisconsin Economy

Access to broadband is an increasingly important issue for economic well-being, particularly in rural communities. Broadband is linked to better business performance, farm profits, and enhanced opportunities for rural entrepreneurship. It is also linked to higher home values and higher educational outcomes at both the grade school and high school levels.

Broadband access also corresponds to improved health outcomes, which can lead to higher worker productivity. Despite these benefits, access to high-quality broadband is limited in many communities throughout Wisconsin, which impedes progress toward rural prosperity.

Extension plays an important role in understanding broadband through research and information sharing, convening and facilitating broadband conversations, assisting communities with broadband planning and funding, and educating the public on access, affordability, and adoption.



Broadband and the Wisconsin Economy explores a range of broadband issues in Wisconsin. The report includes:

  • Definitions of “broadband” and the associated technologies
  • Detailed analysis of access and use of broadband, with an explanation of how those factors influence economic outcomes
  • Brief review of policy issues affecting access and use of broadband (policy issues are explored further in Strategies and Policy Options for Broadband Access Across Wisconsin.
  • Discussion of future directions

Strategies and Policy Options for Broadband Access Across Wisconsin

From the perspective of economic development and community well-being, access to quality, reliable and affordable broadband has become a necessary condition for community prosperity.

In Strategies and Policy Options for Broadband Across Wisconsin we:

  • Review the rationale for a breadth of broadband development strategies
  • Identify strategies available to communities
  • Offer some considerations for success

WIndicators Volume 3, Number 2: Broadband in Economic Development

Read how the pandemic has drawn attention to the lack of adequate broadband in many parts of Wisconsin and how it has affected residents and communities.

Fact Sheets

Recorded Presentations

Role of Broadband in Economic Development – Assistant Professor Tessa Conroy discusses the role of broadband and Internet access in economic development.

Broadband Expansion in Wisconsin – Community Development Specialist Gail Huycke and a panel of state broadband experts, including Jaron McCallum, Wisconsin Public Service Commission, discuss grant opportunities for communities to improve broadband access across Wisconsin.

Additional Resources

Learn more about Wisconsin broadband services and programs from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

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