Federal leaders tackle rural broadband shortage in Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Federal leaders tackle rural broadband shortage in Wisconsin

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Wausau (WAOW) -- Federal leaders made a stop in Wausau on Friday to address local concerns about a shortage of high-speed internet access in rural communities across Wisconsin. 

It was a Rural Prosperity Task Force held at Northcentral Technical College. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was joined by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI 7th District) to listen to local farmers' concerns about a problem they said hinders their business. 

"What are we doing as a federal government to hinder people's progress rather than helping people's progress," said Secretary Perdue, a former governor of Georgia, appointed to the cabinet position in April. "A core pillar of rural prosperity. Whether it be education, whether it be precision agriculture." 

Around 20 other guests ranging from local organizations to beef farmers joined Perdue to voice their concerns about the problem. 

"We're going to fight to make sure you have an infrastructure that allows you to be successful," said Duffy. 

"We may be ahead of the curve, but we have a long way to go," said Johnson.

It was announced Friday that state officials have granted over $1 million to help broadband expansion. 

The grants will provide reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses in an effort to improve under-served broadband areas.

Perdue said a lack of internet can also threaten opportunities for education in rural communities.

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