Originally published: March 24, 2011
Last updated: March 24, 2011 - 6:50pm
A little thinking outside the box will make it possible for the Reedsburg Utility to install fiber-optic Internet cable outside the city.
A $5.2 million federal grant awarded to the utility in July was in jeopardy when bids to expand high-speed Internet to the rural northern third of Sauk County came in at more than $10 million. The project originally had been expected to cost $7.5 million, and the utility already had taken out a $2.3 million loan in August to supplement the grant. The Reedsburg Utility Commission approved moving forward with a plan to bid out rental contracts worth approximately $4 million to install the underground cables that provide wireless Internet. Superintendent Dave Mikonowicz said this measure will allow the utility to move forward on the project, which already has been delayed. The federal grant is part of the Department of Agriculture's Broadband Initiatives Program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.