UW-Extension weighs in on county broadband survey
By Jalen Maki
Lincoln County and University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Lincoln County have partnered on a county-wide survey on high-speed internet use and access.
“It’s a survey for Lincoln County residents and businesses to tell us what their broadband needs are and what they currently have available,” explained Melinda Osterberg, Lincoln County Community Development Educator.
“Our hope is that we will be able to get a clearer picture of what access looks like in Lincoln County, and that we can share that with county stakeholders and internet service providers, and hopefully provide some incentive for those internet service providers to expand access.”
Osterberg noted that the survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, and that survey takers are asked to complete an internet speed test “so we really have a good understanding of what people are using to connect to the internet.”
“As a user, I don’t know what speed I have at any given time, but that information is really helpful because sometimes the internet service providers themselves are unaware of the level of service everyone is receiving,” she stated.
Lincoln County residents living in unincorporated areas should have received a postcard providing information about the survey last week, Osterberg said. The cities of Tomahawk and Merrill likely have sufficient internet service available to residents, so the focus was put on rural areas where that level of internet service is unavailable.
Osterberg added that she hopes Lincoln County residents complete the survey by the end of the year.
For more information on the survey, visit www.co.lincoln.wi.us/uw-extension/page/lincoln-county-broadband-survey. Visit www.go.wisc.edu/59rt4s to take the survey. Paper copies can be requested by calling 715-539-1072 and can be picked up in-person at the Lincoln County Extension Office,
801 N. Sales Street, Suite 101, Merrill; Tomahawk Public Library, 300 W. Lincoln Ave., Tomahawk; or the Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce, 208 N. 4th St., Tomahawk.