While many rural areas in Wisconsin are still struggling with underserved internet access, residents of the Cable and Drummond areas and most of Bayfield County enjoy broad band internet and wireless services in their homes.  Residential fiber service is available to 99% of people living in Cable and Drummond, WI.  Fiber optic high speed internet is available to 49% of Bayfield County residents.

The push to connect Bayfield County started in 2006 when then Governor Jim Doyle announced that Wisconsin was awarded $1.7 million in grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to map broadband access and spread high-speed internet networks to more parts of the state.  That was great news for NW Wisconsin and especially for Bayfield County where Chequamegon Communications Cooperative (now known as Norvado) began the initiative to bring fiber optics to all residences in the county.

The project took many years and many more designated grant monies to cover the county’s 2,042 sq. miles.  I live on a dead end Forest Road 4.5 miles from Cable, and my home is now set up with fiber broadband and wireless.  For me, it was a 6 year, worthwhile wait to get the fiber optic cables laid up to my home.  Gone are the dial-up and DSL days in my rural neighborhood.

With headquarters based in Cable, WI, NORVADO is finishing the work begun over a decade ago.  The company continues to offer increased upload speeds (currently up to 1,000 mbs) and faster streaming ability.  The fiber net project is also important for Bayfield County businesses that need to compete in our global economy and for rural households in general.  A 2013 report from the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center, a policy organization funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research rural issues, found that median household income in rural areas grew at twice the rate where broadband service was available, compared to where it was unavailable.

As for Real Estate – broadband fiber access is a huge asset for selling a property. At the time the ARRA grant was enacted Bayfield County residents were asked to join the program.  Most people embraced the technology and allowed Norvado to install the routers and monitoring equipment needed for high speed internet access. Today, if a buyer chooses a land parcel and decides to build – most county and town roads have broadband connections at the street.

Our north woods beauty, recreation trails and clear-water lakes make the Cable/Drummond areas a 2nd home destination.  Vacation home buyers want good internet access and are thrilled to find out we have high speed internet here.  So –why keep our fiber optics a secret?  If you list your home with King Realty – we will help you spread the word.   Something in our day-day to living that we have learned to take for granted is actually a big selling point for many!

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