High-speed internet upgrade in dial-up mode

County might use portion of remaining ARPA money to give town a broadband boost
Ozaukee Press staff

The Town of Saukville’s dream for improved broadband services remain uncertain as $5 million of Ozaukee County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, the town’s desired financing option, were spent on emergency medical services.

Town Chairman Kevin Kimmes said there is still hope for county-wide internet improvements at the July 19 Town Board meeting.

Ozaukee County Administrator Jason Dzwinel said in an email to Matt Stephan of Cedar Corp., the town’s consultant, the county has some ARPA funds yet to be allocated that could bring this project to life. Ozaukee County received $17.3 million in APRA funds.

“(We) recently allocated $5 million of ARPA funds to support the municipal EMS system and (did) roundtables with our committees...on how to best use the remaining funds,” Dzwinel wrote.

Dzwinel told Stephan broadband improvements will be brought to the county’s Executive Committee, and he should have a better idea on next steps in late summer.

Since broadband providers are private companies, it can be difficult to attract them to rural areas with a smaller customer base, Kimmes said.

“You then have to go for (government) funding” to get broadband lines installed, he continued. That means partnering with the rest of Ozaukee County.

“Our planner said he has seen the most successful applications happen when the county leads efforts and we all get broadband together,” Kimmes said.

Kimmes spoke with AT&T and Charter Communications regarding potential partnerships, hoping an exclusive deal will bring more interest.

Broadband service has been a longstanding concern for the town.

“We’ve heard a big outcry that people in the town want this service improved,” Kimmes said.

The majority of the town’s households have broadband download speeds of 25 megabits per second with some spots at only five or 10 mbps, according to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission broadband map. That is low compared to village residents with at least 100 mbps.

The pandemic only highlighted the town’s poor broadband service, making it a priority.

“During the pandemic, we connected with loved ones through broadband and it’s an issue,” Kimmes said. “We’d stay in touch through Zoom meetings.”



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login