Home » AT&T »CenturyLink »Community Networks »Competition »Data Caps »Frontier »Public Policy & Gov't »TDS Telecom » Currently Reading:

Wisconsin Republicans’ War on Broadband: No Cheap Internet for Schools, Libraries

Wisconsin Republicans are outraged AT&T and CenturyLink are not able to charge taxpayers and students more than double the price for broadband in schools and libraries.

Wisconsin Republicans are outraged AT&T and CenturyLink are not able to charge taxpayers and students more than double the price for broadband in schools and libraries.

Wisconsin taxpayers and students could face substantially higher taxes and tuition fees because Republicans prefer AT&T and other commercial Internet Service Providers deliver high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries, even if prices are more than double those charged by the existing non-profit, cooperative provider.

Last week, under growing pressure and criticism from Republican legislators and the potential threat of private litigation, the University of Wisconsin withdrew its contract with WiscNet, fearing a costly backlash that could interrupt the school’s educational and research missions.

Republicans in the state legislature forced a competition ban in the 2011-2013 budget directly targeting WiscNet, an institutional broadband provider serving 300 public schools, state agencies, and 15 of 17 Wisconsin library systems. They consider WiscNet a direct competitive threat to the business interests of AT&T and other telecommunications companies.

The loss of business from UW has raised questions about the ongoing viability of WiscNet’s operations, and has encouraged critics to continue the campaign against public broadband.

“Isn’t it a sad day when political pressures from telephone company lobbyists keep us from working together,” asked WiscNet Wire. “It’s frustrating, yet fascinating.”

Many of WiscNet’s members report that “going private” for Internet connectivity will more than double their costs. This was confirmed by Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau, which reported a member paying WiscNet $500 month for Internet service would face bills of $1,100 or more if provided by AT&T or other telecom companies.

Republicans have complained WiscNet’s close ties to the state university system and its efforts to resist the Walker Administration’s efforts to dismantle the institutional fiber network’s current operational plans border on unethical.

Cheerleading the Republicans are providers including AT&T and CenturyLink, both filing their own respective complaints (AT&T) (CenturyLink). Joining them is the Wisconsin State Telecom Association (WSTA), which represents Wisconsin’s independent rural phone companies like Frontier Communications.

WiscNet Connecting People Logo_0William Esbeck, WSTA’s executive director, has been on WiscNet’s case for years. He said WiscNet’s recent victory in a procurement process to supply Internet service across the UW system was proof the bidding was rigged.

“The UW simply created a ‘request for proposals’ that matched what WiscNet was already doing,” said Esbeck.

Republican legislators joined Esbeck threatening hearings and unspecified repercussions for the “civil disobedience” on display by university officials attempting an end run around the Walker Administration.

“There have been repeated, flagrant violations of state law — intentional deception at a level that I just am flabbergasted by, even today — and no accountability for it whatsoever,” said state Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson), at a recent budget committee hearing. Among Knudson’s biggest campaign contributors: the WSTA and CenturyLink.

In a May 23 letter sent to UW System president Kevin Reilly, state Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) accused UW officials of “mismanagement and unethical behavior,” saying they’d shown disdain for the legislature and contempt for the laws and directives it passed, reported Bill Lueders, the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Among Farrow’s biggest campaign donors: TDS Telecom and the WSTA.

Both Farrow and Knudson are also known members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate financed group that produces anti-public broadband draft legislation for introduction by the group’s members. Both CenturyLink and AT&T are sponsors of ALEC, AT&T in particular.

The Walker Administration has given the UW System an extra six months to sever all ties with WiscNet.

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. It’s 487 miles between Madison and KC, or 1 hour and 16 minutes to fly. It would be well worth the trip for Wisconsin lawmakers to see “the other side.”

  2. James Cieloha says:

    Every AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier customer in Wisconsin should be ashamed of both their providers and their state politicians for not wanting to allow libraries and schools to pay for less expensive internet service in Wisconsin very severely.

    I feel that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin are trying to be way too big being like the Wal-Mart’s, the Marlboro’s, the Joe Camel’s, the Paramount Pictures with the movie theater chain of the 1940’s, the Morris Levy’s when he was part of Roulette Records, the Clive Davis’s when he was at Columbia Records in the 1970′s, the Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the Perry Sock and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the Harry Pappas as part of the Pappas Telecasting Companies, the Bernard Madoff’s, the Enron’s, the Worldcom’s, the Adelphia’s, the Tyco’s, the Martha Stewart’s, the Jill Kelley’s, the Orie sister’s, and the Jesse Jackson Jr’s, of the 2000′s by letting greed get out of control so all of the head employees and bosses at AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier to be able to enjoy carefree lavishly spending to support carefree lavishly lifestyles with luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, luxurious furs, luxurious jewelry, join luxurious clubs, go to luxurious hotels, go to luxurious casinos to do gambling, go to horse races, throw luxurious parties, and have other luxurious items just to make them very happy then trying and willingness to improve the quality of all of their employees and making the customers very happy as well. I hope and I wish that AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier goes out of business for their unwillingness to care for their customers and their employees. I feel that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier are trying to bribe like the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960′s and 1970′s by not being very honest of not only the customers and also on themselves.

    I hope and I wish that the FCC would allow all the television and telephone providers with internet broadband that has never ever impose usage caps to the internet broadband customers be allowed to purchase and acquired customers from AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier and are being required to make a real big concession that they would promised not to have any difficulties with all the internet broadband providers competitors and their customers by not imposing usage caps and meters and raising prices for them to put them out of business sooner and without any interference for 12 straight whole years.

    I feel that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin are way too big being way too busy trying to act like the Baauer’s, the PSY’s, the Carly Rae Jepsen’s, the Nicole Westbrook’s, the Rebecca Black’s, the Double Take’s, and the Guns N Roses Axl Rose as well as trying to be the Conrad Murray’s, the Jerry Sandusky’s as the assaulters, the Jodi Arias’s, the Casey Anthony’s, the Charles Starkweather’s, the Charles Manson’s, the Lyle and Erik Menendez’s, the O. J. Simpson’s, the Scott Peterson’s, and the Drew Peterson’s as the greedy murderers, the Amanda Bynes’s and the Lindsay Lohan’s as the drunk and the drug abusers, the Rodney Dangerfield’s, the John Belushi’s, and the Chris Farley’s as the comedians, the Gordon Gekko’s, the Victoria Grayson’s, the Victor Newman’s/the Jack Abbott’s, the J. R. Ewing’s/the Cliff Barnes’s, the Charles Montgomery Burn’s/the Mayor Quimby’s, the Homer and Bart Simpson’s, the Peter Griffin’s, the Mickey Mouse’s/the Minnie Mouse’s, the Bugs Bunny’s/the Daffy Duck’s/the Porky Pig’s, the Garfield cat’s, the Cookie Monster’s, the Miss Piggy’s, and the Pillsbury Doughboy’s, of internet broadband industry of preferring to let customer service suffer by not allowing libraries and schools to pay for less expensive internet service in Wisconsin.

    I feel that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin are trying to turn into the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s baseball team and the Southern Methodist University football team of the 1980′s to force all the customers to accept whether or not the customers will be willing to deal with AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier customer service and making them deal with just poor customer service in Wisconsinby the use of extortion. I urge all the AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier customers in Wisconsin to boycott Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians including those in the House and Senate in Wisconsin right now for making all the customers suffer from having to deal with poor service for their internet broadband needs and not allowing libraries and schools to pay for less expensive internet service in Wisconsin in a big huge ugly game of baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw chicken in the future of the internet industry.

    The internet is useful for web users to look at for news and weather reports as well as for important emergencies. I feel that all of the fat cat politicians and the fat cat phone and internet providers in Wisconsin want to see internet service gets expensive and force the libraries and schools to pay up a lot more money for the right to keep internet service so all of the fat cat politicians and the fat phone and internet providers in Wisconsin can have carefree lavish spending to fully support their endless greedy lavish lifestyles for their own political gain by way of block booking and extortion is so very shameful and so very disgraceful in my own personal opinion and theory. I feel that all of the fat cat phone and internet providers and the fat cat politicians in Wisconsin have never learned from various scandals happening in the past. Have those fat cat phone and internet providers and fat cat politicians in Wisconsin learned from the Paramount Pictures practice of block booking with theatrical theatres of the 1940’s, No, the General Tire/RKO General broadcasting license scandal of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, No, the Southern Methodist University football team scandal of the 1980’s, No. These are examples of what I feel that all of the fat cat phone and internet providers and the fat cat politicians in Wisconsin are trying to do to attack internet service for libraries and schools in Wisconsin.

    I’m commented in response to all AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier customers who are very sick and tired of all the ways Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin to make sure that libraries and schools don’t have less expensive internet service and have fears to see AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier internet service deteriorate very much rapidly in a heartbeat in Wisconsin.

    I gracefully would support all community internet broadband providers and would want all of them to be able to be allowed to provide the fastest internet speeds of up to 1GB very fairly by the communities being allowed to build their own fiber optics cable lines without interference from Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin with the fact that AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier is already providing very limited internet broadband service at way less broadband speeds to all of their own customers.

    I hope and I wish that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, and Maggie Wilderotter with Frontier, and all of the state politicians in Wisconsin is willing to allow all the communites to build out their own fiber optic cable networks for their superior mega fast internet broadband service that beats out AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier internet service and speeds to all of their own customers in Wisconsin.

  3. Scott says:

    The harder AT&T, Verizon, Century Link, and all the other providers lobby and push to cement their position as a monopoly or duopoly provider with high prices and poor service the quicker they’re going to find themselves heavily regulated again by the end of this decade when consumers and watch dog agencies have had enough.

    They can’t keep going at the rate they are, their greed and drive to ‘serve the interests of their stockholders’ by optimizing profit with no regard for the services or lack thereof that they provide is a recipe for disaster in the long term.

  4. Jim Livermore says:

    Mr. Cieloha, please – enough if the boilerplate. Start your own blog.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Paul Houle: I can believe in AT&T's plan, but not Comcast. For better or worse, AT&T is going "all in" on video and is unlike other major providers in ...
  • Phillip Dampier: Yes, that battle with Northwest Broadcasting, which also involved stations in Idaho-Wyoming and California, was the nastiest in recent history, with s...
  • Doug Stoffa: Digital takes up way less space than old analog feeds - agreed. In a given 6 MHz block, the cable company can send down 1 NTSC analog station, 2-4 HD...
  • Phillip Dampier: Digital video TV channels occupy next to nothing as far as bandwidth goes. Just look at the huge number of premium international channels loading up o...
  • Doug Stoffa: It's a bit more complicated than that. Television stations (and the networks that provide them programming) have increased their retransmission fees ...
  • Alex sandro: Most of the companies offer their services with contracts but Spectrum cable company offer contract free offers for initial year which is a very good ...
  • John: I live in of the effected counties, believe it or not our village is twenty three miles from WSKG Tower, approxiamately eighty miles from Syracuse, WS...
  • Wilhelm: I'm in the Finger Lakes where Spectrum removed WROC-8 last Fall, but we still get other Rochester channels, WHAM-13, WHEC-10 and WXXI-21. I have to wo...
  • dhkjsalhf: "Another classic case of businesses being much smarter than governments." I don't know whether this was sarcastic or not, but I feel it's a sentiment...
  • New Yorker: It makes no sense. I wonder sometimes if raising the limits on how much money rich people giving to candidates could make it more expensive to buy of...
  • New Yorker: Will New York go through with the threat? As an upstater I have seen infrastructure projects drag on in cost and time (eg. 1.5 yrs to repair a tiny b...
  • Matthew H Mosher: Another classic case of businesses being much smarter than governments....

Your Account: