SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – How are you reading this? Fast internet is a luxury not all Wisconsinites share. It’s an issue the FCC is trying to fix by giving three telecom companies in Wisconsin millions of dollars in government subsidies to improve their internet services in rural Wisconsin.
One Shawano County town doesn’t want to be overlooked.
Frontier is one of those companies that will get $31 million to increase their service. It’s the only option for internet service for many people in the Town of Richmond.
It takes Angie Schultz hours to order items for her husband’s business from her home.
“The pages open so slowly, and just about every time I have to start over entirely when I get to the page to pay, and I lose everything so I start over.”
Mike Groth, who owns Computer Haus on the other side of town, uses Charter internet.
With a service like speedtest.net, he demonstrates the speed of his internet access versus the Schultz home.
“We are going to run a test that will measure the internet speed going up and down — in other words, a file coming to us and one going out from the computer.”
At Groth’s store, the download speed is about 63.7 megabits per second and the upload is 4.22.
On Angie’s computer with Frontier, her upload speed is 0.9 megabits per second and the upload is 0.11.
(Upload speeds are usually slower, because internet connections assume you’re going to receive more from the web than you contribute).
Groth offers, “An example would be if you had to drive to Milwaukee and you had a choice between a tractor and car. She would have to take a tractor, and you would have to take a car.”
At least Schultz can get on the internet. Her neighbor, Jeff Cordie, can’t.
He has to use a hotspot, using his cell phone’s data network for Wi-Fi. That option is a hassle.
Cordie has to keep his phone by the window. “Better reception,” he explains.
“Trying to find out where we can go from here,” Schultz says, “so this is a search, a seeking-out mission.”
The Town of Richmond is holding a meeting next week, talking with Frontier general manager John Van Ooyen to make sure Richmond is included in their upgraded service. That meeting is at the town hall Wednesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. People are asked to have specific examples of the problems with their internet service.
Residents who wants to voice an opinion but can’t attend the meeting can write to:
RE: 10/12/16 Meeting w/Van Ooyen
Richmond Town Hall
P.O. Box 240
Shawano, WI 54166