1 Gbps Internet available to rural Wisconsin businesses

Service provided in Sparta, Tomah industrial parks

A few industrial parks in Monroe County now have access to the one gigabit Internet service.

Lemonweir Valley Tel-com is now offering the service to all businesses in the three industrial parks in Sparta and Tomah, but county officials said this will benefit the whole county.

There are only about 50 industrial parks in the U.S. that offer one gigabit Internet service.

Now that it’s available in Tomah and Sparta, city and county officials believe new businesses will want to come to Monroe County, and for the ones that are already there these Internet speeds will have a big impact on many different areas of business.

“If we would ever notice any kind of productivity loss, it’s money,” said Craig Herold, computer systems analyst at the Toro Company.

Toro has a location in Tomah’s industrial park.

Herold said productivity is important for any and all businesses and having one gigabit Internet access will improve productivity.

“The higher speed Internet, higher speed connections between locations and that kind of thing gives the ability for our locations to be up and running,” Herold said.

Joshua Abbott of Matthew’s Inc. in Sparta also knows the benefits of broadband for business.

“Well, as society becomes more dependent on the Internet, we need more capacity. We’re sending larger and larger files, we’re sending larger and larger pieces of communication, we’re connecting our phone systems through the Internet, so you need that higher capacity to be able to compete in today’s industry,” Abbott said.

County Economic Development coordinator Steve Peterson said having this high speed Internet service available will help him recruit new types of business to the area.

“Bring in the high-technology jobs like the software developing type companies, the call centers, people that need that type of a service, and it’s here, they can hit the ground running and start tomorrow. So we’re excited about the potential of recruiting those types of businesses and high-paying jobs to the county,” Peterson said.

“This could allow us to bring that technology into the rural industry where you could have a win-win situation. You can live in the small city where you want to live, you can be in the rural area, you can enjoy what’s around Tomah, the beauty and the scenery, and still have that technology, still have that good job, and still be tied into the real world on a basis that you’ve never been before,” said Roger Gorius, city administrator for Tomah.

Peterson said there are already three or four companies in those business parks talking with Lemonweir about getting one gigabit service.

It seems Monroe County is ahead of the curve when it comes to one gig Internet. In 2013, the FCC chairman issued a challenge to Internet providers to have at least one gigabit city in every state by 2015. Currently, there are less than 50 cities to offer the service.