Kewaunee County has been awarded its full request of $960,000 to increase its high-speed internet access with the assistance of Bug Tussel Wireless in Green Bay.

One of 72 grants the state Public Service Commission awarded in the latest round of Broadband Expansion Grants, the Kewaunee County project aims to build seven wireless towers in Kewaunee County, starting in the towns of Carlton, Casco, Franklin, Red River and West Kewaunee. The fixed wireless service is expected to reach 199 businesses and 12,115 residential locations within the footprint of the antennas.

The $2.3 million project is also funded by a $500,000 commitment from Bug Tussel as well as a 12-year loan for the balance from the county to Bug Tussel.

County officials described the state grant as a game-changer in the effort to improve local high-speed internet access.

“This is the first step towards better accessibility for Kewaunee County. Next, we will work on locating and acquiring sites for the towers,” said Scott Feldt, Kewaunee County Administrator. “I want to thank everyone who sent in the nearly 150 letters and emails supporting the PSC grant application. I am convinced that this show of support was critical in Kewaunee County receiving the full amount it requested.”

The start of the broadband initiative by Kewaunee County dates to 2016, when it became known that federal and state grant opportunities were becoming available.

“The Kewaunee County Board and administration acted to pursue at least partial funding of the project to improve service to citizens, businesses and students,” said Robert Weidner, Kewaunee County Board Chairman. “The grant that has been awarded to Kewaunee County makes it possible to improve service, share costs, and preserve limited county assets. The current health crisis demonstrates how important it is to have the option for students and others to be able to work from home.”