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300 Wis. libraries getting Internet upgrades

  • Associated Press
  • February 8, 2014 - 6:05 PM

MANITOWOC, Wis. — More than 300 libraries around the state will be receiving new high-speed Internet connections this year, allowing more patrons to surf the Web without slowing down the experience for others.

The libraries are being upgraded from copper to fiber-optic connections, which will increase bandwidth and also simplify the process of maintaining hardware, HTR Media reported (http://htrne.ws/1bdRGpm ).

The cost is being paid in part by the state's Technology for Educational Achievement program. The grant will cover the cost of bringing the fibers to the building, but libraries will generally be responsible for the cost of work inside the building, said Cherilyn Stewart, the director of the Manitowoc Public Library.

She said the new system will eliminate the need to pay for commercial wireless services, saving $250 per month, and it will also improve the experience for library patrons.

If the upgrade works as expected, staff might be able to used iPads throughout the building to check out materials, eliminating wait time at the service desk, Stewart added.

Library officials in Kiel and elsewhere say they're excited about the upgrade.

But others, such as Lester Public Library in Two Rivers, have opted out of the upgrade. The library's director, Jeff Dawson, said library officials are happy with their private provider.

© 2014 Star Tribune