The Broadband Story in Brown County
The internet has become the leading source of social and business connection for everyone. Remote learning is now a viable option for school-aged children. Businesses have turned to remote work from home for their employees.
Families and individuals are staying home and spending much more time online. Even before the pandemic though, Brown County continually worked locally and with state and federal government to improve high speed connectivity for citizens through expansion and development of the Brown County Community Area Network.
Through a partnership with NewNorth and OPTI, Brown County is working to ensure that everyone has access to quality internet connectivity in the county region. To help us accomplish this goal, we need your help. Our partner NewNorth has contracted with DesignNine for the 18 county north east Wisconsin region to survey every residence and business in the region. Please take the time to fill out the residential survey or the business survey and complete the SPEED TEST.
This OPTI speed test, allows you the opportunity to report your internet speed. The data collected from your speed test will be used to improve broadband access. This includes:
- Identification of school districts that may need additional services for remote learning.
- Identification of regions that are not being served but are near other regions that are served by an ISP. Regions not currently served may be able to negotiate for expansion of ISP service areas.
- Identification of regions that may already be defined as well-served but are actually not.
- Identification of regions where broadband is available, but unaffordable to some members of the community.
This speed test takes less than a minute. After using the speed test, you will be able to determine if your internet speed complies with FCC standards (25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload) and the BEAD/ARPA standard of (100mbps download and 20mbps upload).
Internet speeds that fall below the standards may be eligible for federal and state grants. We invite you to test your internet speeds by taking this OPTI speed test. We also request that you test your speeds more than once and at different times of the day and days of the week. Brown County governement is working with public sector and private sector partners on grants and other ways to improve broadband within Brown County and throughout the entire region.
Please encourage your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to complete the WISER broadband survey and take the OPTI speed test. The survey and test helps create a better map showing where service is (and is not). Using this speed test will add to the collective data so that Brown County will be able to take steps to ensure acceptable internet speeds for everyone, no matter where they are located in Brown County.
Click here for the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) speed test data. You must manually select the Green Bay Area school district to see our local data.
UPDATE 14: Brown County Broadband committee continues to meet. The committee submitted its initial mission and goals to NEW NORTH to be included in the WI-PSC Broadband report. Final legal work continues regarding the BugTussel proposal.
UPDATE 13: Brown County is participating in the WI-PSC Broadband Planning Grant. The work is part of the BEAD funding and is intended to prepare the County, region and State to better utilize the expected $700mil to $1.2B in BEAD funding. The planning grant runs through 2025, but the intent of Brown County leadership is to have planning complete before the grant rounds start.
UPDATE 12: On April 17th the first meeting occurred for the Broadband Committee. Work is still ongoing regarding the BugTussel proposal.
UPDATE 11: On March 15th 2023, the Brown County Board of Supervisor authorized the resolution creating the Brown County Broadband Committee. The committee is a continuation of years of work to improve Broadband in Brown County and the region.
UPDATE 10: There will be a public presentation and discussion of the Contract for the BugTussel (Hilbert) proposal at the Brown County Administrative Committee Meeting. The date of the meeting is pending.
UPDATE 9: There will be a public presentation of the BugTussel (Hilbert) proposal at 5:30pm on 9/21/2022 in the 2nd floor of the Brown County EXPO Hall just before the County Board meeting.
UPDATE 8: At the 8/26/2022 Brown County Administrative Committee Meeting BugTussel (Hilbert) presented a proposal to provide Broabdand for all unserved and underserved areas of Brown County. This proposal will be reviewed at the Sept Brown County Board meeting. BugTussel 8-25-2022 Proposal
UPDATE 7: Brown County is working to ensure the best utilize the $10mil set aside for 911 towers and broadband expansion. We are actively working with townships to improve RURAL speed tests. The County may apply for additional state and federal grants, and is considering alternate funding models to improve broadband for ALL Brown County Residents. Brown county is also working with regionally, with NewNorth, working with WI State PSC, the 9 Region Economic Development areas and continued local County work.
UPDATE 6: Brown County released an RFI to connect five 911 towers, the Sheriff's office and provide options to improve broadband throughout the County. The county is assessing the FOUR responses recieved on March 30th. Preparation for further grant participation continues, with IIJA funds have not been released yet, and rules for the state distribution have not been released.
In the meantime we are improving maps and preparing fiber plans so we can respond quickly to new WI State or Federal grants becoming avialable.
UPDATE 5: Charter/Spectrum and Brown County applied for funding through the 2022 WI-PSC Grant for the east side of Brown County. US Cellular and Brown County applied for funding through the 2022 WI-PSC Grant for areas in and around the town of Morrison. Both providers applied for the 2022 WI-PSC grant funds on March 17th.
UPDATE 4: Charter/Spectrum and Brown County were not awarded grant funds for the PSC 2021 Broadband grant. Work started on preparing for a possible 2022 grant
UPDATE 3: Brown County is working with New North, our regional economic development entity, to study broadband internet service in Brown County and across the north east Wisconsin region. Our goal is to identify gaps and prioritize investment. The study is being conducted by Design Nine, Inc. You can support the study by taking this household survey by October 29. The survey includes use of an accurate speed test. Each household is asked to take the residential survey one time, using the speed test while at home. You can help more by taking the speed test multiple times at home and at work, to provide more data for the study.
UPDATE 2: In July 2021, the Brown County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of a grant submittal for portions of eastern Brown County. Confirmation if the grant will be awarded will occur later in the year (Fall 2021).
UPDATE 1: ARPA Grant money available by Municipality for the state of wisconsin:
Read More About Broadband
Broadband in Rural Wisconsin: Identifying Gaps, Highlighting Successes
Broadband - Presentation to Brown County Towns Association
View the Brown County Community Area Network (BCCAN) High Speed Fiber Connections
View the Proposed Brown County Govt Fiber Expansion Map – this is a reference map showing possible government focused fiber runs and services with numerous overlays. It includes municipalities, schools, 911, fire and law enforcement. Not all government-owned fiber lines are on this map. None of the proposed fiber has been approved as of 4/20/2021.