Community Broadband Planning Resources

Broadband planning is a key component of the work of the Wisconsin Broadband Office, as well as other stakeholders such as internet service providers, local communities, UW-Madison Extension, and more. Broadband planning can happen at many levels and include local, state, and federal officials, as well as public and private entities. Local coordination and community planning are essential to ensuring that new investments meet the community goals and broadband needs. 

Key Steps to Planning

Key steps to community broadband planning can include:

  • ​​Learning the basics of broadband including the various deployment technologies such as fiber, cable, fixed wireless, etc. 
  • Identifying local broadband ‘champions’ and creating a team, committee, or Task Force. 
  • Crafting goals and a community vision.
  • Understanding current broadband availability, locating gaps, and identifying assets in your community using maps, data, surveys, and more.
  • Building partnerships with internet service providers, other neighboring communities, and entities such as economic development professionals, school districts, libraries, or health care providers. 
  • Leveraging available funding including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), state broadband grants, local community matching dollars, and more. 
  • Emphasizing digital equity components such as affordability and adoption of broadband services 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)​

BIL provides $65 billion to connect all Americans to high-speed broadband internet that is affordable and reliable. Within BIL there are several programs that support broadband planning, infrastructure, and adoption. States will administer funding under the Broadband Equity, Access,​ & Deployment Program (BEAD) program and Digital Equity Act (DEA) programs. 

Planning Resources

Below you will find curated resources that communities may use when planning for broadband development and digital inclusion activities.

General Guidebooks and Resources 

Broadband Expansion: What Are the Essential Components?: The Pew Trusts’ Broadband Access Initiative has collected resources on the basic elements of bringing high-speed internet to the nation. 

Community Broadband Planning Playbook: The North Carolina playbook provides the tools needed to help communities expand broadband access in their communities. It uses functional resources to help identify your current broadband needs, take stock of your available assets, strengths and weaknesses, establish goals, and create and implement policies that will help your community achieve its vision for the future. 

National Broadband Resource Hub: The National Broadband Resource Hub (NBRH) is a free, online community for government leaders and nonprofits working to expand broadband access and affordability to build a strong digital future. The Hub provides a resource library and a collaborative community platform for local leaders. 

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Federal Funding Guide: The Federal Funding site connects to funding opportunities that support broadband planning, digital inclusion, and deployment projects. The site allows users to filter programs by Agency/Department, Eligible Recipients, and/or Program Purpose. 

NTIA Tribal Broadband Planning Toolkit​: This toolkit provides tribal entities with the guidance, knowledge, and resources to design, implement, and maintain a broadband plan in their communities. 

Accelerate: A Community Broadband Planning Program: The Accelerate community broadband planning program educates and supports community leadership teams as they create their community’s broadband vision and goals and pursue the best possible broadband solutions for their area. The planning program includes links to curriculum, videos, and how-to-get-it done resources. 

BIL Resources 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook: This playbook is intended to help rural communities understand the available funding provided by the BIL and provides an overview of key flexibilities and other benefits available to rural communities under the law. 

Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government and Other Partners: This guidebook is a roadmap to the BIL funding available under the law. It explains, in as much detail as currently available, how much funding is available at the program level. The primary goal is to help our partners across the country know what to apply for, who to contact for help, and how to get ready to rebuild. 

National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) Broadband Infrastructure Playbook: This playbook is intended to provide resources to states and territories to help them accelerate the available of funding and help provide consistency in the process. It may provide a useful overview of the federal process for communities. 

Digital Equity and Inclusion 

The Digital Inclusion Startup Manual: The Digital Inclusion Start-Up Manual is intended to provide guidance to organizations looking to increase access and use of technology in disadvantaged communities through digital literacy training, affordable home broadband, affordable devices, and tech support.  

Maps and Data

Wisconsin Broadband Map

This website displays statewide internet access as declared by internet service providers through data collections by the PSC and Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

View Broadband Map

Wi​​​​sconsin Grant Footprint

This mapping tool provides a look at the impact of broadband grant projects statewide. Users can search for grants in their area of interest by performing an address search and navigating the map.

View Grant Footprint

Wisconsin Internet Self Report (WISER)

WISER is an internet survey and speed test that will be used to advise Wisconsin's broadband planning efforts. We are open to partnering with communities to make locally focused surveys using WISER as a guide.

Take the Survey

​NTIA Indicators of Broadband Need​: NTIA’s Indicators of Broadband Need map uses several different data sources to show information on broadband availability within the United States. Layers in this map were created using data sourced from the American Community Survey collected by the U.S. Census, Ookla, Measurement Lab (M-Lab), Microsoft, and the FCC.


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