Wisconsin's public libraries are about ready to zoom into the 21st century.
Thanks to a $4.2 million federal grant, Internet speeds will increase exponentially at about 350 libraries in the state as the state's BadgerNet broadband network gets a big fiber optic upgrade, the state Department of Public Instruction announced.
According to the DPI:
The fiber installation will begin in April and should be completed by November. Nearly all public libraries in the state will get an increase in connectivity capacity, often triple the existing speed, as part of the program upgrade.
"More than 60 percent of our public libraries report inadequate Internet connection speeds to serve library patrons," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers.
"Many of our libraries are the only public Internet access in their small, rural communities," Ever said. "This upgrade will be a welcome improvement across the state."
The BadgerNet network is managed by the Department of Administration, with telecommunications companies providing the service.
In the South Central Library System, which has the Dane County Library Service among its members, virtually all libraries from the Adams County Library to the Wyocena Public Library will be included in the broadband expansion project.