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Friday, March 24, 2023

Campus-area alder Scott Resnick proposes pilot program to provide Internet to low-income neighborhoods

Correction: This article was changed Feb. 20 to accurately reflect a proposal to bring Internet access to low income neighborhoods though a city of Madison grant.

In an attempt to “cross the digital divide,” Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, hopes to provide Internet to low income neighborhoods through a city of Madison grant.

Resnick’s plan would alleviate those in low-income housing from the high prices of WiFi and hopefully provide “high speed-no cost” Internet access, he said at an event on campus Monday.

Approximately a dozen students attended the event, which was hosted by the Bipartisan Issues Group, a political organization on campus, according to BIG founder and UW-Madison junior Alex Holland.

Founded in 2012, BIG promotes collaboration on “collective action problems,” regardless of political party affiliation. UW-Madison is home to the original chapter, according to the organization’s website.

“Why we chose Scott [for the discussion] is because he is spearheading this legislation that’s going to attempt to bring Internet into low-income houses at a really reduced price,” Holland said.

Holland said he believes Resnick’s plan could bridge the divide in Internet access between more privileged citizens and those who live in low-income areas.

“Making sure we can have more access to the Internet is really important, and I think it’s really cool that we can highlight that,” Holland said.

However, he added there is debate over whether or not the new technologies will be effective.

“I think the downside is that, if it doesn’t work, it’s $150,000 that’s potentially thrown down the drain,” Holland said.

Still, Holland noted how high-speed has evolved over the past few years.

“They’re able to turn this technology so that it’s really valuable and will be able to provide quick high-speed Internet, and affordable Internet at that,” he said.

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Holland said he looks forward to the future of the proposal.

“It’s a low risk proposal with a lot of reward,” he said. “And I think that this could really revolutionize the game and really improve this community.”

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