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The continuing debate in Wisconsin re broadband

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Sunday, January 29, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association is maintaining their pressure on the legislature in opposition to the bill which would extend the WiscNet sunset for a year.Their press release of two days ago suggests that the UW either doesn't know their own business or is attempting to mislead us all, referring to "misleading statements made by Ray Cross, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Extension."http://www.thewheelerreport.com/releases/January12/0126/0126wsta.pdfAs Lisa noted in an earlier blog post, we received a favorable vote in committee as the "Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Higher Education Committee voted 6 – 1 to recommend SB 375 for passage. The bill would delay the restrictions on participation by the University of Wisconsin System in selling or providing telecommunications service, including terminating participation in WiscNet."The WSTA is attempting to sell the idea that the current law would not prohibit the UW from participating in WiscNet -- which might be a meaningful argument if no-one else...

Urge Your Legislator to Support SB 375/AB 473 to Delay WiscNet Changes

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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You may recall that during the state budget process, language was adopted altering the relationship the University of Wisconsin has with WiscNet, effective July 1, 2013.  The budget bill also required the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to complete a financial and performance audit of the UW’s relationship with WiscNet by January 1, 2013. This leaves only six months to respond to audit recommendations before the legislation goes into effect!The new law will directly impact the relationship WiscNet has with its 450 members located throughout the state, affecting service to K-12 schools, higher education, and 95% of the state’s public libraries. During the extensive budget deliberations there was not enough time to adequately discuss this complex issue.  Many questions remain unanswered.Fortunately, Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater) have introduced SB375/AB 473 amending the effective date of the original legislation to July 1, 2014. A bipartisan group of legislators is...

June 3 Letter from UW Officials on Joint Finance Actions

Posted by Lisa Strand
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...

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

Posted by Lisa Strand
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)....