Marathon County has a long reputation of being one of the more successful and progressive counties in the state. The County provides the foundation “infrastructure” for prosperous businesses and invests heavily in quality and efficient services and effective partnerships utilizing citizen and business participation. The County recognizes an adequate infrastructure is necessary for economic development and growth. Infrastructure is not only roads and bridges – infrastructure includes the necessary backbone required to attract and maintain a healthy business climate.
In an article published on July 15, 2009, statements by technologist and writer James Carlini support the County’s position: “Broadband connectivity (multi-gigabit speeds) is now one of the top three criteria for corporate site selection committees. Ten years ago, it was not even on the list of requirements.”
For these reasons Marathon County decided to conduct a county-wide broadband gap analysis in 2009 to identify county-wide issues related to economical broadband access and telecommunications.
Drivers for conducting the study at this time include the fact that the County is undertaking a major upgrade to its public safety radio system which may offer opportunities to extend broadband services, and to a potential source of funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”), sometimes referred to generically as stimulus funds). The ARRA authorized substantial funds to increase access to broadband services in unserved and underserved locations, particularly in rural areas.
In 2015 the county created a Connectivity Task Force which spent a few months getting updated information on the state of broadband in the county. The Task Force gave a report to the full county board in fall 2015. The report is available HERE.
In 2017 the county's new strategic plan identified lack of high speed, reliable and affordable broadband as a key issue. In 2018 the county has begun looking at the issue in closer detail. As new information is developed, we will post the information on this page.