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Weston exploring options on broadband expansion for business park

Village of Weston Municipal Center building. Image taken 7/1/2011.
Village of Weston Municipal Center building. Image taken 7/1/2011.

WESTON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Weston village leaders are looking to expand high-speed internet coverage into the city's south side business park.

The city was recently passed over for a Public Service Commission grant to pay for more access, so they'll now be exploring options in the private sector. Administrator Dan Guild says for the moment they can only purchase service rather than build their own. "There have been, in the past, other options for public entities and local governments to also do similar expansion efforts, but the laws have recently changed and we are restricted to just working with private sector providers." Recent law changes have restricted local governments from creating their own broadband networks.

Guild says the move will require cable laying. "There is already cable in the park, it's just that not every lot is serviced at this time with a fiber optic connection." Right now the plans will be to expand the gigabit fiber optic lines from the north side of the business park across Highway 29 to the south side of the park. Cost estimates for the expansion plan are around $150,000.

While the current plan is just to bring the fiber optic to the business district, Guild says they are looking at residential access in the future. "But right now we're just trying to focus on creating a 21st century, first class facility for business and industry in our park."

A new grant application cycle with the Public Service Commission opens up in July, and Guild says they'll be applying again.