Access to high-speed broadband Internet is essential to the future success of our rural communities. It creates economic growth, expands access to quality healthcare, enhances educational opportunities, and improves our quality of life.
According to the website BroadbandNow, 23% (percent) of Wisconsin residents are underserved when it comes to broadband, and 1.1 million people — 20 percent of the state’s population have no competition to choose from when it comes to a wired internet provider. Many residents in Iowa County have been requesting bet-ter internet service for years, whether to help students studying for school projects, or telemedicine, which is a fast growing way to serve those who are sick in the rural areas, applying for a job or telecommuting. Iowa County residents are asking for assistance to secure resources to expand the internet county wide. The Iowa County Board of Supervisors conducted an online survey that was live from January 30 to April 30. An ap-peal for public participation kicked off prior to the survey with all local units of government and school districts being notified and assisting in the promotion of the survey. There are approximately 9500 house-holds in Iowa County and 1316 took the survey.
Solar Electric Initiatives
With full support of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, UW-Extension, and Sustain Iowa County, the MREA helped organize a solar group buy in 2017 for Iowa County, Wisconsin. The advantage of a group buy is the power of volume purchasing, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing solar on your home or business. The group buy was open to all Iowa County residents and commercial property owners.
Dozens of solar group buys have been completed across the country in cities like Portland, Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago, and in states from California to Vermont. Among all of them, there have been some common elements that led to success: competitive contractor selection, community-led outreach with a trusted community partner, and a limited-time offering.
To learn more about other solar initiatives in Iowa County, click here