Compromise on WiscNet Seemed Close, But Telcos Push Back

Posted by Lisa Strand on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
Tuesday's public statements by legislative leadership, such as those reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and hours of negotiation on WiscNet and the UW's federal broadband grant have not yet resulted in compromise budget bill language. Despite several Republican lawmakers requesting that WiscNet and the broadband grant be allowed to continue, lobbying by the Wisconsin State Telecommunications is apparently creating doubt for legislative leadership about the best way to proceed.

Our sources state that the NTIA and FCC rankings referenced by WSTA are mainly residential connections; they also reference speeds of at least 3Mbps. The UW's broadband project would expand fiber to not-for-profit and public sector entities and provide speeds of 1,000Mpbs at significantly lower prices than those currently available through BadgerNet. While BadgerNet pricing will likely become less expensive through pending renegotiation of those contracts, the UW project would have a return on investment of less than 5 years.

WLA stands by the editorial by WLA President Rhonda Puntney that appeared in The Capital Times online and in today's issue of their weekly print edition. WLA also stands by a similar statement sent to legislators last week and urges all library supporters to keep up the pressure on legislators to craft a compromise that would retain current WiscNet operations and allow the UW broadband project to move forward.
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