Plans to install broadband service across a large section of Wisconsin hit a roadblock when strategies called for the route to cross the Oneida reservation. Broadband access is part of a $28 million initiative in the region and the rerouting took Hobart officials by surprise, reports the Green Bay Press Gazette.
Because the project crosses tribal land, “The Oneida Nation is a federally recognized tribe and must be coordinated with on a project like this,” said Brown County Highway Commissioner Paul Fontecchio. Historical and cultural resources along the original route were identified by the Oneida tribal historic preservation officer, prompting the change to the broadband installation.
Fontecchio explained that an alternate route was selected quickly because “that corridor has already been cleared environmentally from prior projects.” He added, “A delay due to the broadband route approval would have jeopardized the $20 million build grant and killed the project.”
In response, Hobart Village Administrator Aaron Kramer referred to an earlier concern which questioned the efficiency of the secondary route. In the note, village officials described that option as inferior. “Thus far, the biggest threat to the project’s success has been the village of Hobart’s continued adversarial tactics with the Oneida Nation and Brown County,” Fontecchio countered.
The secondary route, which was approved, combined efforts underway by the highway department with the new broadband plans. Safety on the road will be supported by better digital connections for police and emergency responders. “All we’re asking for is accountability,” confirmed Rich Heidel, Hobart village president, “If you’re going to move dirt and dig up earth, you want to do this only once.”