MADISON, Wis. — Thursday’s Packers vs. Regardless of the score for the Titans game, many fans were disappointed that they couldn’t watch it in the first place because it was on Amazon Prime.
The lack of broadband in homes, bars and other places in the state is something the Public Service Commission is trying to fix, but they say it will take time.
“I mean, I’ve been to a few bars,” said Branden Mueller, who had to scramble a little to find a bar where he could replicate his green and gold and generally be able to watch football on Thursdays.
“A lot of them (said) ‘Oh, we don’t have Prime or we can’t stream it because we don’t have Prime,'” he said Thursday at SconnieBar.
When it comes to all Thursday Night Football games on Prime video only this season, “I feel like the NFL is selling out with it,” Mueller said.
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Not all Packers fans in the bar that night thought it was complete bullshit.
“Thursday Night Football became a bit of a hit, so there weren’t a lot of contenders, so I totally understand how Amazon Prime got it,” said Peter Murphy.
“Streaming is going to be the thing of the future,” he said, “it’s going to have to come out with some quality, but it’s going to get better as the internet world progresses.”
That can be a problem when more than 180,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses still don’t have Internet access, according to Alyssa Kenney with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
“We have our foot on the gas, but broadband infrastructure and good high-performance broadband infrastructure takes time,” he said.
Kenney, the PSC’s director of state broadband and digital equity, said the PSC has connected more than 100,000 new locations with state funding in the past two years.
In October, Governor Tony Evers allocated $40 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds through the Capital Projects Fund for broadband expansion.
“We definitely want everyone in Wisconsin to be able to watch the Packers, that’s a top priority. But you know, in the same way, getting access to your doctor’s appointments, having your kids in school has access to the resources they need to be successful,” Kenney said.[Internet is] It’s just part of the access to society now, and people who don’t have that are really left behind.”
Between $700 million and $1 billion in federal dollars could also come after the administration approves broadband funds from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, Kenney said.
“We’ll be able to pull in some planning funds and that will allow us to engage more closely with local communities, build any information or systems that we need, so we’re really fully prepared when we get additional revenue, additional funds. come down,” he said.
Kenny said the government determining which places are not served by broadband could make things more difficult.
“The state has an underserved definition and the federal government has an underserved definition and they don’t really feel anything,” he said.
Wisconsin would receive $5 million in full planning funds for a nine-month process.
Then comes the next stage.
“So there’s pre-engineering and design, there’s pre-ordering materials, there’s labor that’s needed for a lot of projects, so you have to work with the local communities to make sure the permits are in place. any location and public access street,” Kenney said.
Then construction is another challenging game.
“Most of the infrastructure in Wisconsin is buried plant. So it’s underground and it’s boring, and that’s why we have a limited construction season in our state because the ground freezes for a certain period of time,” he said.
Although the funds are made public, “it’s hard when people see the funding go, I think they want broadband tomorrow, and that’s really broadband in 1-2 years,” Kenney said.
Even for some with internet, affordability can be a barrier, so it’s possible to apply for a federal affordability program to get $30 off your bill.
In the meantime, fans will just have to scour the area for bars, friends, or any other Cheeseheads with a Prime subscription on Thursdays. “
True fans will find a way to watch it,” said Murphy’s friend Guy Copp.
For those with Internet access but no idea how to get Amazon Prime, “local libraries are just an incredible resource to offer digital literacy classes,” Kenney said. “I’m hoping that as we plan, we can plan for that adoption, digital literacy and other pieces that people really need to take full advantage of the technology.”
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