End of WiscNet? Joint Finance Eliminates UW-Madison WiscNet Office in DoIT

Posted by Lisa Strand on Monday, June 06, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
TAKE ACTION: WLA's Legislative Alert
In addition to requiring the return of federal broadband funds, the Omnibus University of Wisconsin System motion passed Friday (Motion 489) by the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance included the following provision:
"Specify that WiscNet could no longer be a department or office within the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology beginning on July 1, 2012, and delete $1,400,000 PR from the UW System related to WiscNet in 2012-13. Require the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a program audit and a financial audit of the Board of Regents' use of telecommunication services and relationship with WiscNet."

The note in the motion indicates under current law, the Board of Regents is prohibited from providing telecommunication services that are available from a private telecommunications carrier to the general public or any other public or private entity. Currently, WiscNet services more than 450 public and private research, education and government organizations. According to Bob Bocher, Division for Libraries consultant and a WiscNet board member, WiscNet provides about 95% of libraries and about 80% of school districts with Internet access. The cost of receiving this service through private vendor is estimated to be two to three times higher than through WiscNet. See the WiscNet website for more information.

WLA will be developing a legislative alert to be issued later today or early tomorrow. Please stay tuned.
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