Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Community project opportunity: Southwestern WI

Folks, got this in my email the other day and told the fellow I'd pass it on to my class to see if anyone had an interest in pursuing this as a project (or as a concerned citizen, if you have connections to the area).

Professor Greg Downey:  This email explains a meeting I have organized.  Having reviewed your website, I am wondering if this is of interest to you.  In my view, the digital divide is in rural southwest WI.  Most incomes are low to moderate and cannot afford satellite.  DSL and cable do not reach much of the rural area, regardless of income level and build-out by current providers is slow.  For fiber optic door to door to become economic may take decades.  BPL has big questions and costs, so it could be as slow as DSL to reach the un-served.  Meanwhile, technology advances in fixed wireless appear to give it the most promise to serve throughout rural regions with added advantages related to mobility.  You are most welcome to attend the Feb. 11 meeting.  If you would be interested to provide a technical or other advisory role should local leaders want to pursue a wireless broadband initiative, please let me know.  If you can envision a role for students to be involved, from your class or as part of their academic direction, please let me know.  If you have general comments about this meeting and this wireless broadband technology, I would welcome that.  Finally, please forward this to faculty, students, et al you think might find this meeting/initiative of interest.  Thank you, Tom Jackson


Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
719 Pioneer Tower, Platteville, WI 53818

For release:      February 4, 2005

Information:      Tom Jackson, E.D. Planner, SWWRPC
              , 608.342.1056, c 608.778.1180


Platteville…..Providing a kick start to community and economic development through truly high-speed wireless broadband internet access for a rural county will be the topic of a public information meeting in the southwestern Wisconsin community of Lone Rock on Friday, February 11, 2005.

Ken Schlager, PhD, P.E. and President of Bioelectromagnetics, Inc., will make a presentation on the Telecommunications for Rural America project he has underway in Rusk County, Wisconsin.  Schlager seeks a second county interested in wireless broadband service to prove the technology will work in hilly as well as flat topography and could serve any rural region of America. The Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission organized the meeting.

The wireless mesh network technology is many times faster than current available DSL and cable internet service.  The most exciting promise of wireless technology is the ability to bring a combination of very-high speed internet services, including telephone, mobile phone, and teleconferencing to a rural region at much more affordable build-out costs than is possible with overhead or buried lines.

Tom Jackson, Economic Development Planner for the SWWRPC, said he is inviting officials from municipalities and the counties of the southwest region to the meeting as well as representatives from any interested telecommunication and internet service providers.

“A City of Reedsburg representative will attend to describe how private sector partners were essential to that city’s telecommunication utility,” Jackson said.


“At this meeting, we want private and public sector entities to start the process that can lead to a successful partnership to implement this wireless technology.  Mr. Schlager has identified possible funding sources that could make this a rare opportunity for a rural county to make a huge leap forward in community and economic development at a very affordable cost.  Increasingly applications require broadband such as distance education, medical services delivery and working from home, it benefits the whole community.”

The meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the Village of Lone Rock community building, 130 E. Liberty St., one-half mile south of Highway 14 and one block east of Highway 130.  For full information on this wireless broadband opportunity, go to, and link to economic development.  For information about the meeting, contact Tom Jackson, at or call 608.342.1056.

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