Over 430,000 people throughout the state of Wisconsin cur-rently do not have access to the internet. This "digital divide" is even more prominent in rural communities where broadband is either too slow, too expensive, or simply not available. Wisconsin state law cur-rently restricts local governments from providing this vital utility to their residents. The purpose of this Comment is to help readers un-derstand the impact of Wisconsin law surrounding local government public broadband programs, and how they can be changed to offer a more equitable menu of internet access to rural communities. This Comment will discuss the restrictive statutes that encourage anti-competition in the broadband market, and the reasons why these laws are still on the books. This Comment will also analyze the social impact of these statutes through the lens of education and healthcare in rural Wisconsin. Finally, the Comment suggests solutions which result in significant alterations to current law in order to achieve eq-uitable and universal access to broadband.
Brian T. Coe, Creating Broadband Equity in Rural Wisconsin, 24 Marq. Ben & Soc. Welfare L. Rev. 1 (2022).