Wisconsin Town Offers Affordable Gig Internet to All Subscribers

Inst: Local Self-Reliance
3 min readOct 16, 2018

Originally published at ilsr.org

In September, Reedsburg Utility Commission (RUC) in Wisconsin announced that they’re simplifying life for subscribers. They’ve eliminated service tiers and now everyone who signs up for the service receives affordable, symmetrical gigabit Internet access from their recently rebranded LightSpeed service.

Rebranding, Redefining Fast and Affordable

Back in May, RUC decided that they would renew their efforts at marketing by launching the new LightSpeed brand. At that time, they were already signing up new customers for the great gigabit deal, which translated into prices as low as $44.95 per month for 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps or one gigabit) when purchased as part of a bundle. RUC also offers voice and video.

RUC has been offering Internet access to Reedsburg’s approximately 10,000 people since 2002. In 2014, they were the first in Wisconsin to offer gigabit connectivity. Over the past 16 years, they’ve expanded into different areas around the city in order to share the benefits of the network.

Growing That Gig

With the new gigabit offering to all, Reedsburg will venture out to two new areas. They received two grants from the state to expand to the Village of Spring Green and the Town of Delton.

In Spring Green, located about 30 miles due south of Reedsburg, town officials have been working with the RUC to obtain the funding to bring high-quality Internet access to town. The grant will help fund the first phase of the project, which will bring better connectivity to several community anchor institutions, the school district, and multiple government facilities. In bringing LightSpeed to Spring Green, approximately more than 260 residential and 35 commercial premises will also have access to fiber.

Lake Delton, which is south of the Village of Delton, will add another 134 residential and 19 premises to the network. The estimated cost of the expansions totals around $770,000; grants will reduce the cost to the RUC by contributing a little more than $443,000 to the projects.

“As we continue to grow our service territory and our fiber optic offerings into additional rural Sauk county communities, Reedsburg Utility remains customer focused and committed to providing the best service for the best price,” said Brett Schuppner, General Manager of the Reedsburg Utility Commission. “The Internet provider should not be a limiting factor in how quickly a customer can access content. With LightSpeed, we’ve removed the bandwidth restrictions to enable subscribers to utilize all of their connected devices and have the best online experience possible.”

Turning Consumers Into Participants

Reedsburg also recently received the new Telecommuter Forward! Community Certification. The designation, passed into law in April 2018, recognizes communities in rural areas that have taken steps to improve local connectivity in ways that encourage telecommuting. Communities apply through the Public Service Commission for the designation. The PSC determines if they are eligible by reviewing criteria such as economic development activity, telecommuter friendly work space, coordination with Internet service providers, and other factors that encourage telecommuting.

In Reedsburg, where a symmetrical, affordable gig is available to everyone, transforming subscribers from consumers into active participants in the online economy isn’t a stretch.

Learn more about Reedsburg by listening to our 2015 interview with Brent Schuppner for the Community Broadband Bits podcast.

Image of downtown Reedsburg courtesy of Country Time Gazette.
This article was originally published on ILSR’s MuniNetworks.org. Read the original here.



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