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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...

Terry Dawson, WLA Legislative Chair, Testifies in Favor of SB 375

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Friday, January 20, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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SB 375, a bill to delay changes to WiscNet that were inserted into the 2011-13 budget bill in the 11th hour, was the subject of a January 19 hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education. The committee will hold an executive session (vote) on the bill on Monday, January 23.Terry Dawson, Chair of the WLA's Library Development and Legislation Committee, spoke in favor of the bill on behalf of WLA, countering claims by telecommunications groups that there is sufficient broadband and cheap Internet service available to everyone in the state. Terry's main points:WiscNet provides cost-effective, high quality Internet service to its members, including K-12 schools, institutions of higher education and 95 percent of public libraries in the state. According to information on the Department of Administration's website, service from other providers would cost 4-5 times more than WiscNet charges.Schools will likely need to know by February 2013...

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...