Legislature will be asked to do more as the pandemic requires more online time for work, school, and social contact.

For years business owners and others in Wisconsin’s rural areas have pursued better internet service as they increasingly struggle to access information online, but that assistance hasn’t come fast enough, as illustrated in a new report.

The challenges of staying connected have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that necessitates that people remain apart. That means communication of all sorts increasingly takes place with computers and phones, leaving people without access to high-speed internet service further and further behind.

Business owners in Wisconsin’s rural regions report difficulties operating as the need for broadband service outpaces their ability to access it. Even professions such as farming, typically thought of as more physical than technological, have become ever-more reliant on high-level internet service.

“So much of what we do now in agriculture is linked to the internet and technology,” said Danielle Endvick, Wisconsin Farmers Union communications director. “Pretty much everyone, no matter what business you’re in, needs high-speed internet these days.”

However, in many parts of Wisconsin–especially the less-populous ones–such connections aren’t possible. According to a report by the research organization Forward Analytics assessing high-speed internet availability, one of every four people living outside of the state’s urban areas lacks access to high-speed internet, or broadband, meaning they often can’t take part in activities in a world becoming ever more based on technology.

Click here to read the full article.