Improving Digital Equity in Wisconsin
Closing the digital equity gap is a priority to ensure high-quality learning for all children in Wisconsin through access to robust broadband and digital learning resources, especially in rural areas and other groups lacking internet access.
The Department of Public Instruction is leading a variety of initiatives to help bridge the gap in digital learning access faced by many children and families in Wisconsin and provides leadership as a member of the Governor's Task Force on Broadband Access. As part of these initiatives, DPI is working with several organizations to raise awareness of funding opportunities to expand high-speed broadband access and providing technical assistance and support for school districts that are working with their local broadband task force groups.
Below, you can read about some of the tools, resources, and opportunities available to help improve broadband access in Wisconsin.
Learning from Digital Equity Data
DPI is helping school districts collect and use their data on broadband speed and availability to better target initiatives to help get access to those who need it. Some of these tools include:
- Providing internet survey tools to help school districts gather information on broadband connectivity and device access for students and families.
- Collecting digital equity data through the WISEdata application, which lets districts use DPI-provided reporting tools such as WISEdash to analyze their local data.
- Working with EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit organization advocating for better internet access for students and schools, to create interactive maps of internet connectivity across school districts.
Wisconsin Digital Learning Bridge
CESA Purchasing and DPI have partnered to create the Wisconsin Digital Learning Bridge, a program that allows school districts to purchase discounted hardware, software, and internet access for families to support blended learning. The Digital Learning Bridge also includes a voucher program that provides funds towards eligible hardware or software purchases. Visit the CESA Purchasing Digital Learning Bridge page to learn more.
Technology Expansion Funding Opportunities
Districts can work with local partners to support applications for funding to expand high-quality broadband access. Some of these funding opportunities include:
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's (WEDC) Broadband Connectors Pilot program
- Public Service Commission's (PSC) Broadband Expansion Grant program
- Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) Trust Fund Loan program
Broadband Speed Testing
DPI is partnering with Measurement Lab (M-Lab for short) to collect data on broadband speeds across Wisconsin. M-Lab provides detailed public reports on broadband speeds in Wisconsin communities. Districts, researchers, broadband advocacy groups, and the general public can use this data to understand the state of internet connectivity in Wisconsin and advocate for initiatives to improve broadband access across the state.