Grant brings fiber optic broadband to area librariesDue to a federal grant, residents across Pierce County will be able to have greater access in searching the world at their fingertips.
Due to a federal grant, residents across Pierce County will be able to have greater access in searching the world at their fingertips.
The state Department of Administration announced a $28.7 million federal grant will provide fiber optic connections to approximately 467 community anchor institutions in 380 Wisconsin communities. Included in this area are: Ellsworth Public Library, Elmwood Public Library, Elmwood Schools, Plum City Public Library, Prescott Public Library, Prescott High School and Spring Valley Public Library.
“The Recovery Act grant will bring fiber optic broadband to areas where it would otherwise be too expensive to build. There aren’t enough customers to justify the cost of the investment without the help of these funds,” said Mark Weller of the Wisconsin BadgerNet Access Alliance (WBAA). “The federal grant, along with a 20 percent state match, is providing the kind of infrastructure for rural schools and libraries that will meet their needs for decades.”
Ellsworth Public Library Director Shelley Anderson said the grant will increase their computers’ infrastructure from 1.5 MB to 20 MB at the same cost the library was paying before.
The increases broadband will help both staff and patrons, she said, as staff uses the computer system for receiving and checking out books along with cataloging. Patrons use the library’s computers for anything from job searches, games and online searching to answering e-mail.
“Our computers really slow down in the afternoon and, as a result, patrons and staff suffer,” Anderson said. “We are looking forward to having the increased broadband.”
Another benefit, she said, is the increased broadband will result in no extra cost for the Ellsworth library, as the costs will remain the same.