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Your Mom Would Remind You to Say Thank You

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 17, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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One of the most important advocacy tasks now before us is to thank members of the legislature for their support of library-related items in the state budget. Even though not everything we wanted is in the budget, libraries are in a better position now than when the governor's budget was introduced earlier this year. There are a number of things to be grateful for:$512,000 in biennial funding was restored for BadgerLink and Newsline for the Blind$183,400 in biennial funding was restored for the Talking Book and Braille LibraryWiscNet will continue for another 2 years, and the UW's federal broadband grant also continues, under a compromise hammered out by UW officials and legislative leadershipPlease thank your legislators today. The Legislative Alert we've created gives you an easy way to do that.When you thank them, make sure to remind legislators that we are pleased with the compromise on WiscNet and we ask that...

WiscNet, Broadband Grant Restored by Assembly

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, June 16, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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According to a report by the WisPolitics Budget Blog, the Assembly passed the 2011-13 budget bill on a straight party line vote, modifying Joint Finance provisions that would have eliminated the UW's broadband grant and crippled WiscNet.A memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau describes the motion containing these and many other provisions amending the budget bill. Items #11 through 13 on pages 28-30 of the memo describe the changes related to WiscNet and the UW's involvement in telecommunications issues.First, item #11 deletes the Joint Finance amendment that would have prohibited the UW from accepting the federal broadband grant altogether. The memo says, "Instead, specify that UW-Extension could not commit any funds to facilities under this project to which such funds were not committed prior to June 15, 2011, unless approved by the Joint Committee on Finance."Item #12 essentially restores WiscNet operations but requires the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a financial...

Compromise on WiscNet Seemed Close, But Telcos Push Back

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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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...

June 3 Letter from UW Officials on Joint Finance Actions

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 10, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The following letter was widely distributed throughout the UW System last Friday, June 3: Dear UW System Colleagues,Late Friday, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) completed its work on the proposed 2011-13 biennial budget bill, including provisions related to the University of Wisconsin System. Keeping with the budget proposal submitted by Governor Walker, the committee approved a $250-million reduction in state taxpayer support for UW System over the next two years. Legislators offered many significant amendments to the bill, preserving our unified UW System and offering many long-sought administrative flexibilities to all UW institutions.Here is a brief summary of the JFC amendments:http://www.wisconsin.edu/wip/docs/Summary-of-JFC-Action.pdfHere is the official public statement we issued after the committee vote:http://www.wisconsin.edu/news/2011/r110603.htmPeople from around the state (including many of you) spoke up in support of preserving a unified UW System that includes UW-Madison, and Legislators listened. UW Regents, Chancellors, and other state leaders argued convincingly in favor of new administrative...

Joint Finance Passes Omnibus UW System Motion: No to Separate UW-Madison, Broadband Funds

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Saturday, June 04, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The Joint Finance Committee tonight passed an Omnibus Motion on the University of Wisconsin System that includes, among other items, the decision to not spin UW-Madison off as a separate public entity and prohibits the system from providing telecommunications services and accepting federal broadband funds. The latter would stop a project underway to expand broadband through Community Area Networks (CANs) to about 80 libraries and schools, among other entities, and return millions to the federal government.WLA pushed for acceptance of an earlier broadband grant of more than $23 million that would have expanded BadgerNet for more than 450 schools and libraries. The state returned that grant earlier this year after the Department of Administration was unable to negotiate an agreement between telecommunications providers and the National Telecommunication and Information Administration. The UW System grant had remained as an opportunity to add capacity for a smaller number of schools and libraries. It...

UW-Extension awarded $32.3 million in federal grants to expand broadband

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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WiscNet’s efforts in supporting Community Area Networks (CANs) in Wisconsin will be further advanced thanks to $32.3 million in federal grants announced today by University of Wisconsin-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Christine J. Quinn. UW-Extension led the grant application process. The larger of the two grants will award $29.9 million to build more than 600 miles of fiber optic cable impacting 39 communities and 182 institutions. A separate $2.4 million grant will support education and outreach in the same four communities and in the Menominee Nation. Read more...Footnote: On September 22, several Republican legislators issued a memo requesting review by the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance of the UW System's proposed plans for Community Area Networks (CANs)....

Governor Doyle, U.S. Commerce Official Announce Nearly $29 Million for Broadband Investments

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, February 18, 2010 in WLA Blog Archive
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GREEN BAY – Governor Jim Doyle and US Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower today announced Wisconsin will invest $28.7 million to expand broadband Internet access, including $22.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The grant will provide high-speed Internet access to 467 sites in over 380 communities in all the state’s 72 counties.“High-speed Internet access is critical to the success of our state’s entrepreneurs, businesses, students and families,” Governor Doyle said. “This project will create jobs to lay and install fiber cable, for telecommunications contractors and technicians, and in fields like construction, manufacturing, masonry and electrical wiring. Through the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration is making major investments in Wisconsin’s broadband infrastructure to help our schools and libraries access high-speed Internet.”Wisconsin is receiving one of several national Recovery Act grants for broadband development. The state’s project will expand broadband Internet access to 74 schools, eight post-secondary schools including two...

Wisconsin Gets Broadband Mapping Grant; DPI Seeks Input

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Monday, November 09, 2009 in WLA Blog Archive
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On Friday the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it awarded grants to fund state broadband mapping to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and to six other states. (Press release at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/press/2009/BBMappinggrants_091106.html.) The PSC has already contracted with LinkAmerica (http://www.linkamericaalliance.com) to conduct the mapping for Wisconsin. **Your input requested.** Next week Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will be meeting with LinkAmerica to discuss the state of broadband access, focusing on Wisconsin's K-12 schools and libraries. As part of this process both Steve Sanders and Bob Bocher invite you to send them any comments, thoughts, concerns, etc., you have about getting your schools and libraries adequate broadband at affordable prices. They are especially interested in connectivity issues for the large majority of schools which do not qualify for a TEACH discounted circuit. Send any comments to Bob Bocher by this Friday, November 13. All comments will remain anonymous. Thanks for...

Update on Federal Broadband Funding

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Sunday, May 24, 2009 in WLA Blog Archive
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From May 21, 2009 issue of Channel Weekly:The Department of Public Instruction has provided a website (http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/arrabbfunding.html) with information on the $7.2 billion in federal broadband funding. The following are some recent updates.1) The state Department of Administration (DOA) and the UW System will likely submit large grant proposals that have a statewide or regional impact. The DOA proposal is centered on bringing fiber cable to all school districts and public libraries that are on the BadgerNet network and currently do not have fiber. This will total about 420 sites. The UW System proposal centers on developing Community Area Networks (CANs), which can include schools and libraries. More information on these two proposals is at http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/pdf/arrabbproposals.pdf.2) The DPI's Broadband Funding FAQ has been updated and is at http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/pdf/arrabbfaq.pdf.3) State superintendent Burmaster has sent a letter to the Governor's Office for Recovery and Reinvestment supporting a State priority to use the federal...