WiscNet Activists Make Wisconsin Lawmakers Say Uncle

June 16, 2011 -

Whoever said you can't fight city hall has never been to the great state of Wisconsin. State legislators (admittedly a bit more powerful than city hall) found themselves overwhelmed with calls after trying to cut the throat of Wisconsin's state educational Internet system. The public phoned members of Wisconsin’s state Assembly and browbeat them into submission.

The calls were so overwhelming, according to published reports, that lawmakers in the state immediately put together revised legislation for WiscNet that would allow it to receive funding from the University of Wisconsin's Division of Information Technology. The Assembly quickly added provisions to the state budget, with final approval taking place early this morning. WiscNet provides Internet for most of Wisconsin's public schools and libraries, and many citizens in the state think it is a vital and important service.

Earlier this week it didn't look good for WiscNet; partisan battles over state finances put a target on the proverbial back of the network, much to the joy of AT&T. Earlier this month an Assembly Joint Finance Committee proposal wanted to force WiscNet to separate itself from the UW-Madison Division as of July 1, 2012 and give up $1.4 million in funds from the UW system in 2012-13. This would have forced some schools to opt for Badgernet, a telecom-backed nonprofit that relies heavily on AT&T as its primary vendor.

The budget legislation would also have barred the UW system from receiving or dispersing any funds from the federal government's broadband stimulus program and would have forced the university to return around $40 million in funds.

But Monday turned out to be D-Day for Internet, community, and educational groups, who stormed the phone lines of legislators with protests against the proposals.

"Legislators said, 'please don't call us any more,'" University of Wisconsin economic development professor Andy Lewis told Ars Technica.

Ars Technica has the full story here, but the take-away is that people should fight hard for the things they believe are important. Sometimes - even in the toughest of fights - you can win.


 
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Andrew EisenI'm just waiting to buy a new Gamecube controller for my Gamecube.11/22/2014 - 7:15pm
Wonderkarphttp://kotaku.com/smash-bros-gamecube-adapters-sold-out-online-prices-g-1662162871 Smash Bros Gamecube adapter sold out, online prices go nuts11/22/2014 - 6:50pm
Andrew EisenI bet there's a lovely comedy of errors surrounding that list's journey to the IGDA's page!11/22/2014 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenAnd the fact that it was curated by some random person on Twitter should have been another.11/22/2014 - 6:48pm
Andrew EisenYep, it's pretty clear that whoever at the IGDA grabbed that list, didn't look at it first. I think the fact that there's over 10,000 names on it should have been a bit of a red flag.11/22/2014 - 6:44pm
Wonderkarppenguin books is on the list. wow.11/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Wonderkarpthats better, though I'd prefer something a little more than a simple tweet, I'll take it.11/22/2014 - 6:37pm
Andrew EisenKate Edwards' Twitter: "like people, tools are imperfect; we've removed it for now."11/22/2014 - 6:35pm
Andrew EisenHard to say with any certainty but it appears it at least understands the tool didn't do what it thought it did.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
WonderkarpI've yet to find the IGDA responding too the situation other than deleting a link.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
Matthew WilsonI hope the IGDA understands why its a mistake, that's all I want.11/22/2014 - 6:33pm
Andrew EisenHeh, lawyering up would be grossly overracting! And really silly. Well, if what the IGDA did say was not enough for you, try contacting them and letting them know how you feel.11/22/2014 - 6:31pm
Wonderkarpall I want is an apology from the IGDA. nothing fancy, not even addressed to me. Just something that says, "We messed up. We're Sorry" thats it. Not exactly those words except Sorry. If I was overreacting, I'd be lawyering up.11/22/2014 - 6:29pm
Andrew EisenI get it, I just think you're taking it the wrong way and overreacting.11/22/2014 - 6:27pm
Wonderkarpatleast Matthew understands why I am miffed at that list11/22/2014 - 6:26pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - That I agree with. Linking to that list was silly. Hopefully IGDA will more carefully vet the resources it links to make sure they do what they're supposed to.11/22/2014 - 6:25pm
Andrew EisenNope. No insults.11/22/2014 - 6:21pm
WonderkarpAnd here come the insults. Wanna throw some more?11/22/2014 - 6:18pm
Andrew EisenYou're an English major? Wow.11/22/2014 - 6:16pm
Matthew Wilsonno I am glad they did, but I want this talked about so it does not happen again.11/22/2014 - 6:15pm
 

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