Packers on Amazon Prime are a hassle for Wisconsin homes and businesses without internet access | Wbactive

MADISON, Wisconsin — Regardless of the result of Thursday’s Packers vs. Titans game, many fans were left disappointed because they didn’t get to see it at all on Amazon Prime.

The lack of broadband in homes, bars and other places across the state is something the Public Service Commission is trying to fix, but they said it will take time.

“I mean, I’ve been to several bars,” said Branden Mueller, who had to rush a bit to find a bar where he could repeat his green and gold and even watch football on Thursdays.

“A lot of them[said]’Oh, we don’t have Prime or we can’t air it because we don’t have Prime,'” he said Thursday at the SconnieBar.

When it comes to all of the Thursday night football games that are only available on Prime Video this season, “I feel like the NFL is sold out with that,” Mueller said.

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Not all Packers fans in the bar that night thought it was a complete fumble.

“Thursday Night Football has become something that’s been shot down quite a bit, so there haven’t been many applicants, so I totally understand how Amazon Prime came up with that,” said Peter Murphy.

“Streaming is going to be the thing of the future,” he said, “it needs to improve a bit in quality, but as the internet world progresses, it’s going to get better.”

That can be a problem, according to Alyssa Kenney of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, when more than 180,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses aren’t even online yet.

“We’re stepping on the gas, but broadband infrastructure and good high-performance broadband infrastructure will take time,” she said.

Kenney, the PSC’s state broadband and digital equity director, said with state funding, the PSC has connected more than 100,000 new sites over the past two years.

In October, Gov. Tony Evers committed $40 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for broadband deployment through the Capital Projects Fund.

“We definitely want everyone in Wisconsin to see the Packers, that’s a top priority. But you also know that you can access appointments with your doctor and your kids can access the resources they need at school to be successful,” Kenney said. “[Internet is] is now just a part of access to society, and people who don’t have it are really being left behind.”

Kenney also said there could be between $700 million and $1 billion in federal dollars once the government approves broadband funding from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“We’re going to be able to pull down some planning funds and that’s going to allow us to work more closely with the local communities, build any data or systems that we need, so we’re really fully prepared when the additional revenue, extra funds come down,” she said.

But government dictating which locations are unserved for broadband can complicate things, Kenney said.

“The state has a definition of ‘unserviced’ and the federal government has a definition of ‘unserviced’ and they don’t really agree,” she explained.

Wisconsin would receive the full planning fund amount of $5 million for a nine-month trial.

Then comes the next phase.

“So there’s pre-planning and design, there’s pre-ordering of materials, there’s the work that many projects require, there’s permits, so work with the local communities to make sure you have the permits, whether it’s there Any type of ground and public road is a right of way or development,” Kenney said.

Then construction is another tough game.

“Most of the infrastructure in the state of Wisconsin consists of buried plants. So it’s underground and boring, and that’s also why our state has a limited construction season because the ground freezes for a period of time,” she said.

While the funds will be announced to the public, “it’s difficult when people see the funds running out, I think they want broadband tomorrow and it’s really broadband in 1-2 years,” Kenney said.

Even for some who have internet, affordability can be a barrier, which is why a state affordability program is available to claim $30 off your bill.

In the meantime, on Thursdays, fans just have to scour the field for bars, friends, or other Prime-subscribed cheeseheads. “

True fans will find a way to check it out,” said Murphy’s friend Guy Kopp.

For those who have internet but have no idea how to get Amazon Prime, “local libraries are just an incredible resource for walk-in help to provide digital literacy classes,” Kenney said. “Hopefully, in our planning, we can factor in that adoption, that digital literacy, and the other bits that people really need to fully embrace the technology.”

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