Extension funding 3 specialists to support broadband connectivity for underserved communities

Communities in Wisconsin that lack needed high-speed internet services also happen to be the same communities that lack the resources to take advantage of funding to expand broadband. UW-Madison Extension is committing special funding for three new broadband specialists to solve this problem and bring communities closer to billions of federal funding earmarked to connect all of Wisconsin.

Extension is funding and now recruiting for three positions to aid communities in forming partnerships and securing vital resource to bolster broadband services:

The deadline for applying for the positions is Oct. 4.

Extension has a statewide network of educators working with county partners in addition to dedicated broadband researchers and specialists; these new positions will help expand technical assistance capacity to local communities and work to connect these new and existing efforts to key partners, resources, and funding opportunities.

Billions of dollars in funding to extend broadband to underserved areas is available to communities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the American Rescue Plan Act, both approved in 2021. The new Extension specialists will foster community collaborations, facilitate public-private partnerships, and provide technical assistance in the process of securing critical resources and funding.

“Communities often have great ideas and funding available to them, but oftentimes lack the human capital required to navigate complex systems to see it through,” said Brandon Hofstedt, Extension’s Community Economic Development Program Manager. “These positions will help communities implement their ideas for broadband expansion where it’s needed most.”