State returning federal funding for broadband - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

State returning federal funding for broadband


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Stimulus money that would have improved broadband connections in hundreds of Wisconsin communities will be returned to the federal government.

State officials say requirements for the $23 million would be tough to meet. And, that would mean Wisconsin taxpayers would have to absorb the cost if those requirements weren't met.

The federal funding was targeted for libraries and schools and would have improved police, fire and hospital communication in rural areas.

The Journal Sentinel says one of the sticking points is a public-private partnership the state has with AT&T. The company owns and manages the infrastructure that currently delivers the Internet to schools, libraries and local government. The state has a five-year contract with AT&T. The federal government wanted a 20 year commitment.

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