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UW survey looks to give an accurate map for internet access in Lincoln County

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:13 PM CST
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LINCOLN COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) - Lincoln County residents are asking for a change, with some saying they have no access to high speed internet.

Owner of Helene’s Hilltop Orchard Olivia Telschow says her internet is so bad, she has bought over 20 personal devices just to use as hotspots.

“So cellular iPads, we have twelve of those. Then we have nine cell phones,” Telschow said.

20% of Telschow’s business on the orchard came from online sales. Pair that fact with her children attending school virtually, hot spot costs have become hefty.

“Right now we’re paying over $900 dollars for our cellular data,” she added.

Olivia says she spoke to Representative Tom Tiffany about the issue, she says he told her to be patient.

“If we needed high speed internet to increase our businesses, we needed to move our centennial farm to an industrial park in the Madison or Lacrosse area. I’m not happy about that option I’ll not tolerate that option,” Telschow said.

NewsChannel 7 spoke to Representative Tiffany and asked him to respond to the comment.

“That’s our challenge here as we go forward, to get those gaps filled in,” Representative Tiffany stated. “Whether it’s via the state program, or at the federal level. That’s one of the first things that I’m working on, which is to make sure that we get as good of broadband connections as cities like Madison have,” Representative Tiffany added.

To help the lack of internet access, the UW-Lincoln County extension has created a survey to identify which areas have internet access. They say the current maps are incorrect and outdated.

“In a large rural area like Lincoln County, we’re talking about pretty large geographic portions of the county being counted that they have adequate access to internet service and they really don’t,” community development educator Melinda Osterberg explained.

Olivia says her family has already completed the survey and the others hope to do the same.

“Drive around the parking lot of McDonald’s and see those families out there that are camping out for basically six hours a day doing virtual school. They need high speed internet as well,” Telschow said.

For a link to the survey, click here.

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