Posts Tagged ‘Building Community Capacity through Broadband
UW-Extension needs your help to bring the successful Inventor & Entrepreneur (I&E) club model online through I&E Nation.
More than 50 I&E clubs have formed in Wisconsin, many with UW-Extension’s support and resources. These peer-to-peer networks help people answer questions, patent and market products, and launch successful businesses.
UW-Extension’s Building Community Capacity through Broadband project now wants to bring that model online and build an interactive community of inventors and entrepreneurs throughout the country and beyond through I&E Nation.
To build I&E Nation, the broadband project is applying for a Knight News Challenge Grant. Please visit the challenge page online to “like” and post a comment. Each comment boosts the broadband project’s standing in the challenge. Also, feel free to share the link with others, including through social media. To follow I&E Nation’s progress, sign up.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Peter Anderson on Friday (Nov. 11) dismissed a lawsuit against UW-Extension’s Building Community Capacity through Broadband project.
Ray Cross, chancellor of UW-Extension and UW Colleges, welcomed the decision. “This work by UW-Extension and our many community partners is vital to the future of the Wisconsin economy,” Cross said. The project is a public-private collaboration that is benefitting Wisconsin communities by connecting 182 libraries, schools, government offices, health care facilities and public safety agencies.
The suit, filed in July by the Wisconsin Independent Telecommunications Systems, operating as Access Wisconsin, claimed that the project constituted illegal competition with private business.
The University of Wisconsin Colleges and UW-Extension University Relations team anticipated receiving one award of excellence for media relations and were surprised to also receive a second – the “best of show” – at the Public Relations Society of America Madison chapter Alchemy Awards program Oct. 20, 2011.
Judges recognized the team’s work – detailed in their “Waiting for the White House” application – to announce UW-Extension’s receipt of $32.3 million in federal grants to expand broadband Internet access and education in Wisconsin. The announcement included a complex multi-site live video media conference in August 2010.
The team thanks the University of Wisconsin staff and community partners who supported their efforts, including Instructional Communications Systems, campus-based communications and information technology specialists, and staff of the Building Community Capacity through Broadband initiative.
The $66-billion 2011-13 state budget passed both houses of the legislature last week and awaits Gov.Walker’s signature before becoming law. He promised a “fair number” of line-item vetoes. “I’m going to spend the next week and a half looking through the budget to make sure we haven’t missed anything, ” Walker said. As passed, the budget includes big changes for the UW System and its employees:
- The UW System will take a $250-million cut in state revenue over the next two years.
- UW-Madison will remain part of UW System. A task force will be set up to study UW System structure.
- All UW System institutions gain operational flexibility in human resources, purchasing, travel, tuition and budget management.
- Tuition increases are limited to 5.5% per year.
- UW institutions will be able to participate in the WiscNet high-capacity broadband network at least until 2013, pending an audit and study.
- UW-Extension will not have to return $32.3 million in federal grants to expand broadband access and education in five communities.
- Employee retirement contributions can now be made on a pre-tax basis.
The biggest changes for most employees – increased pension and health insurance payments, along with severely restricted collective bargaining rights — were passed in a separate bill in March. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has cleared the way for that bill to become law, state employees should expect to see changes in pension and health care costs in their paychecks by mid-August.
The State Assembly approved the state budget bill early Thursday morning, including language that preserves UW-Extension’s $32.3 million in broadband expansion and education grants, keeps the university involved in the WiscNet high-capacity network pending an audit and study, and saves UW-Extension’s Instructional Communications Systems (ICS) services. The budget is expected to pass the State Senate without change Thursday and will be signed relatively soon by Gov. Scott Walker. The governor has the power to change aspects of the budget via his line-item veto.
In his message to employees, Chancellor Ray Cross said, “I have been very impressed with the honest and sincere approach of so many of our legislators. They have been honest with me, they have challenged me, they have diligently listened to us and they have tried to determine what was right for their communities, for their constituents and the state. They truly deserve a note of thanks.”
You can find more information in this news release.
The state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Friday, June 3, 2011, voted to cut UW System’s budget by $250 million for the 2011-13 biennium. The committee also voted to give UW System flexibilities in budgeting and financial management, tuition, purchasing, human resources and construction. Members voted down Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to split the UW-Madison from the rest of the UW System.
In an unanticipated move, JFC voted to prohibit the UW Board of Regents, the UW System, or any UW institution, including the UW-Extension, “from receiving funds from any award from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the U.S. Department of Commerce for the Building Community Capacity through Broadband (BCCB) project.” UW-Extension and partners are currently involved in a BCCB project that is designed to enhance the economy and the quality of life in five rural communities.
Several more steps are necessary before the bill is finalized and signed into law by Gov. Walker. In the coming days legislators will be meeting to discuss proposed changes to the bill.
For more information:
UW-Extension and partners continue their federal grant-funded work to expand broadband (high-capacity Internet) access and outreach in Wisconsin. To follow progress in the demonstration communities, including via a map showing where new fiber will be installed through 2013, visit the website: http://broadband.uwex.edu/
Building Community Capacity through Broadband staff can be reached at 855-306-8050 and through e-mail at WIBroadband@uwex.edu. The UW-Extension Office of Broadband Sustainability is located at 660 W. Washington Ave., Suite 309, Madison.