State project brings fiber connections to hundreds of libraries
More than 280 libraries on the BadgerNet Converged Network in every corner of Wisconsin have new, state-of-the-art fiber optic broadband connections this year. Almost 70 more will be connected in the months ahead. The project is also providing increased bandwidth to the libraries. “Faster speeds today are a big benefit,” Mark Weller, President/CEO of Access Wisconsin said, “but the biggest advantage is that fiber technology will future-proof the library connections for decades to come. The capacity of fiber is immense, so bandwidth can be easily increased.” The upgrade from copper to fiber optic infrastructure is being paid for by the state’s Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) program and by the local telecommunications companies that provide BadgerNet broadband services to the state. “Our company is proud to be a part of this project,” Weller said. The libraries are connected to the BadgerNet network, which provides video, data and Internet transport services to more than 2,000 public sector institutions, including K-12 schools, private schools, public libraries, universities, technical colleges, tribal colleges, state agencies and local governments. Nearly all school districts in BCN already are connected to the state network via fiber. The network transports computer data and Internet traffic, as well as interactive distance education courses that allow school districts to offer courses which might not otherwise be available, including advanced math and foreign languages. BadgerNet is the one of the largest state networks of its type in the nation. The service is provided to the Department of Administration by local telecommunications companies, making BadgerNet available in every area of the state. “Schools, libraries and governments are all demanding faster and faster broadband connections,” Weller said. “Our partner companies will continue to invest in the BadgerNet infrastructure to help make that possible.” The investment in the state network by private companies benefits residential and business customers, as well. “When we are laying fiber for BadgerNet, we lay fiber for other uses as well. That new infrastructure helps make services available to everyone,” Weller said.