April 23, 2014

UW pulls plug on WiscNet contract

Under political pressure from Republicans in the legislature, the University of Wisconsin System has rescinded a recent contract with its broadband provider. The UW System itself provides employees and hardware for WiscNet, which is a nonprofit organization providing internet access to campuses, public schools and libraries and state government agencies.

Republicans have questioned whether the system has been improperly subsidizing WiscNet and have ordered it to end its partnership with the provider. “The UW System is making the right decision regarding its relationship with WiscNet,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a media release. “A free market based system will be a win for students, taxpayers and private enterprise in Wisconsin. The legislature will work with the university to facilitate their transition.”

WiscNet won the bid in May, but the UW System said on Thursday that it would pull out of the contract. State Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers said the decision by the UW puts WiscNet‘s future in doubt, and could force remaining members to turn to more expensive providers.

WiscNet is a rock-solid, viable non-profit business,” said a statement on the provider’s network. “We know you need to know that right now as you depend on us. We have a strong and large network and are financially solid.”