Wisconsin gives back broadband stimulus funds

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[Wisconsin] State officials are returning $23 million to the federal government, saying there were too many strings attached to stimulus money that was supposed to be for expanding high-speed Internet service in schools, libraries and government agencies.

I’m not sure what to say – or what not to say here but I wanted to say something if only to say – wasn’t the plan (the National Broadband Plan) to work towards more partnerships? Partnership being public-private, but also maybe better public-public partnerships. It sounds as if AT&T plays into this relationship and decision as well – so it may be fair to call this a public-private partnership.

Some think the issue is that the relationship between the State and AT&T is too close. Some think the hoops required for federal funding are too onerous. I suspect there’s at least a little truth in both camps. Regardless – I have to ask who wins when something like this happens? And who loses? And what’s the price?

I offer a peculiar antidote to the situation in Wisconsin. I watched a great TED talk by Jonathan Zittrain today. He talks about the “Web as Random Acts of Kindness”, starting with the inception of the web. It just seems like if we want to become world leaders again (and again that was a goal of the National Broadband Plan) we have to strive for more than the best business deal.

This entry was posted in Policy and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “Wisconsin gives back broadband stimulus funds

  1. This is an interesting story. There are some curious statements in some of the articles that I have seen. First, it seems that Wisconsin only wanted to buy services; the grants were clearly for construction of new facilities. Wisconsin state officials seemed put off by the long term contract; in fact, long term use contracts are quite common in the fiber telecom business. I saw one note that claims that BadgerNet is primarily leased T1s rather than the big bandwidth that health and education networks really need these days.

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