Terry Dawson, Chair of the WLA's Library Development and Legislation Committee, spoke in favor of the bill on behalf of WLA, countering claims by telecommunications groups that there is sufficient broadband and cheap Internet service available to everyone in the state. Terry's main points:
- WiscNet provides cost-effective, high quality Internet service to its members, including K-12 schools, institutions of higher education and 95 percent of public libraries in the state. According to information on the Department of Administration's website, service from other providers would cost 4-5 times more than WiscNet charges.
- Schools will likely need to know by February 2013 who their Internet provider will be and they need assurance that the provider will offer services through June 2014. Extending the deadline for changes to WiscNet to July 1, 2014, will give schools this assurance.
In addition to Dawson, Jon Mark Bolthouse, Technology Projects Manager, South Central Library Association, and Stefanie Morrill, Director, WiLS, testified in favor of the bill. Others testifying in favor included Ray Cross, Chancellor of UW-Extension, and representatives of WiscNet, the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association, Wisconsin Technical College System, and Wisconsin Farmers Union. Sen. Moulton, as author of the bill, also testified in favor. Those testifying in opposition to the bill were representatives and members of WSTA, including several CEOs of local or regional telecommunications companies, and Access Wisconsin. Take a look at the WisconsinEye video of the entire hearing.