State grant awarded to bring more broadband internet to Paris, Brighton, Bristol

A grant that should help bring broadband internet to more of Paris, Brighton and Bristol was announced by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Friday.

A grant of $872,171 was awarded to Spectrum Mid-America, LLC for the project, which is expected to bring fiber broadband service to 918 residential locations in Paris, Brighton, and Bristol.

Throughout the state, $99,932,502 for 83 projects was awarded from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

In Paris, the town government earlier this year had approved a study aimed at identifying how to bring high speed internet to the whole town.

That study was not quite finished when the town learned of the opportunity for the grants, said John Holloway, Paris town chairman. The town told the PSC it was willing to participate with Spectrum if their proposal was funded.

“Spectrum’s proposal did not spell out a commitment to provide service to every resident of the town, although Spectrum has indicated that they will make an effort to do so,” Holloway said in an email to westofthei.com. “The Paris Town Board is committed to bringing reliable high speed internet service to our residents. We are prepared to work with Spectrum to facilitate and streamline the process as they move forward on the project.  It is still our goal to make sure that all town residents will have access to the internet service they need.”

The grant includes a match of $2,754,000. Holloway said it is unclear who will contribute to that match, Spectrum or some combination of the municipalities.

“I assume there will be follow up discussions with Spectrum now,” Holloway said.

Local state legislators praised the grant award.

“Our increased dependence on broadband Internet service over the last year and a half has underscored the need for reliable high-speed Internet access throughout Kenosha County,” said state Rep. Samantha Kerkmand (R-Salem Lakes). “Residents and business owners in these communities can now move forward knowing that reliable broadband Internet is on the horizon.” 

Said state Sen. Van Wanggaard: “This is great news. Having broadband access is increasingly necessary today.”

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