Wisconsin Economic Development Association Supports BCCB

06/11/2011 Policy, Rural Broadband by j.smith

Late last week, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance approved a motion to be included in the proposed 2011-13 biennial budget bill relating to the UW System and its plans for broadband deployment.

Under the motion, the UW would be required to return more than $30 million in federal grant funds intended to extend broadband throughout Wisconsin. Further, this motion prohibits the UW system from taking part in WiscNet, a network provider for schools, libraries and municipal governments. WisNet would have until July 1, 2012 to divest itself from the UW System. Proponents of the measure contend that the UW should not be in the telecommunications business and competing with the private sector.

WEDA has consistently advocated for statewide broadband deployment and we maintain that support, whether from the private sector or public sector. We encourage continued dialogue and discussion about how to fulfill the goal of enhanced broadband deployment throughout Wisconsin.

The State Assembly will take up the Budget on Tuesday, followed by the Senate later in the week before going back to Governor Walker. We believe there will be one amendment to the Joint Finance Committee substitute amendment and this telecommunications issue may be addressed in that amendment, as there have been several entities and legislators that have raised concerns over the Joint Finance motion.

The WEDA Legislative Committee will monitor this issue and then reassess after the amended language materializes.

While this topic merely represents one issue, it’s analogous to the myriad of issues that are wrapped into this State budgetary process.  On that note, WEDA continues to advocate aggressively for the organization’s 2011-2012 Legislative Agenda.

Please feel free to contact Amy Boyer at boyer@hamilton-consulting.com or 608-258-9506 if you would like additional information.




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