Gov. Tony Evers announced in February 2021 that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) would provide a $100,000 Capacity Building Grant to the Forest County Economic Development Partnership (WEDC) for a pilot program to test the Telelift drone-based system in providing high speed internet to rural areas where broadband service is nonexistent or unreliable.
“Access to broadband is really about access to opportunity,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “As has been demonstrated again and again over the past year, reliable, high-speed internet is a necessity for education, health care and business.”
WiscLift’s strategic approach to economic development includes leveraging dynamic networks in the county for emergency management, disaster response, event support, telehealth/telemedicine, remote education, and work-from-home requirements. This project emphasizes the capabilities of the region to support manufacturing, assembly, upfitment, sales, service, deployment and operation of dynamic networks across the globe. It all starts in Forest County, establishing the Northwood’s as a global innovation hub.
Mark Ferris, FCEDP Executive Director, stated, “The WiscLift technology is literally world-changing with endless applications. We are so fortunate to be working with the Williams on this initiative. Their innovative concept, the diligence, the years and countless hours they have invested represent a gift that I don’t think we can quite fathom at this time. The potential for Forest County as home base puts us in a unique position. As this moves forward, we are very excited to see the benefits that can provide a significant economic impact to our county.”