“We are pleased to share that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has approved Lakeland Communications’ grant application to serve portions of your town,” said Robert Zuzek, director of business development for Lakeland Communications. Zuzek announced the update during the Town of Osceola board of supervisors meeting in July. Zuzek expects the PSC to announce the sign and served order within a week to 10 days from the meeting.
“This outcome is great for all stakeholders,” said Zuzek. “The positive outcome was greatly due to an application that reflects the public and private partnership that will continue to reduce the digital divide within greater Polk County.”
Both grants submitted by Lakeland Communication were awarded for a total of $2,835,129. The total cost of the projects will be $5.7 million and will impact just over 900 locations in Polk County.
One of the grants was for the expansion of broadband services in the Township of Johnstown. The second grant was for broadband expansion throughout the Townships of Farmington, Alden and Osceola. The expansion will impact approximately 250 locations in the Town Osceola.
Lakeland Communications has the materials ready to begin construction. Construction will begin in the fall of 2022 and be completed by the end of 2024.
The purpose of the broadband expansion grant is to improve internet service and access for underserved residents and provide better access to broadband throughout a larger portion of town. Successful applicants demonstrated a clear and achievable plan to improve broadband communication services in one or more underserved areas in the state.
The Public Utilities Commission received 194 applications requesting a total of $495,648,678. Through a merit ranking process 71 applications were selected. A total of $124,967,392 was awarded to recipients.
“We sincerely appreciate the support from the Town of Osceola during this grant process,” said Zuzek. “We look forward to bringing exceptional broadband to the residents and businesses throughout your township and growing our partnership well into the future.”
The Town Board approved to contribute 10 percent of the total costs for the expansion of broadband in the Town of Osceola, and up to 80 percent contingent upon Lakeland Communications fulfilling the installation within the Town by Dec. 31, 2024.
Lakeland Communications is also activating a broadband expansion project that started in 2021. This project includes an additional 200 locations within the Town of Osceola. “We are presently working with a number of very excited residents to complete their installation and activation of our 100% fiberoptic service,” said Zuzek. “It is all about providing local, trusted, fiber fast broadband services deeper and further into Polk County.”