Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joint Finance Approves ARRA Funding for Broadband Expansion

The state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance today approved (16-0) using $22.9 million in federal economic stimulus funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) that will expand fiber to 385 libraries and 82 schools. In addition to approving the use of federal dollars, the motion required the Department of Administration to provide additional information to Joint Finance by September 1, 2010: the sources of the state match of $5.7 million required by the fiber grant, the status of a contract extension between the state and BadgerNet providers, and an estimate of the cost to educational agencies and the state's universal service fund for Technology in Educational Achievement (TEACH) programs for the current and next biennia.

In recent weeks, WLA had asked members to contact state legislators to encourage the DOA to extend the BadgerNet contract through 2016. WLA also urged Joint Finance to approve the use of ARRA funding for the broadband expansion project. Thanks to the many members who responded to this call to action.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau Analysis of this issue can be found at

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