Broadband issue hits home with farmers - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Broadband issue hits home with farmers

Posted: Updated:
Scott Walker Scott Walker
Jon Stephenson Jon Stephenson
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Over the past year, Governor Scott Walker hosted a series of 70 listening sessions with many addressing concerns about rural broadband. 

He's proposed a $35.5 million increase to expand broadband through the Public Service Commission.

"We heard time and time again from people at our listening sessions and elsewhere that access to broadband, high-speed internet connections was a critical issue particularly in rural, whether it's in farming areas or wooded areas across the state," said Walker.

It's a service that's key to economic prosperity, quality of life, education, and tourism.

Agriculture contributes more than 300,000 jobs to Wisconsin's economy, comprising 10 percent of the total employment according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

However, those involved in the industry, like Jon Stephenson, a Regional Sales Manager for KUHN North America, Inc., said the industry needs a boost, catching up online.

"It's really important the end user in the rural America has the opportunity to look at the internet at fast speeds to be able to participate in online auctions. Whether it's for livestock, equipment, land," said Stephenson.

Stephenson said he uses a satellite service making it difficult to get internet connection when the weather is good, let alone when the weather is bad. Making it nearly impossible to do day to day work.

"We have to look at the entire infrastructure of the state and look at those real rural areas where we don't get good service, that we don't have the fiber-optic cable in the ground which would be very beneficial," added Stephenson.

An effort that would help better connect Wisconsin's 77,000 farms on the outskirts of town, to their work in urban areas.

Powered by Frankly