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Wisconsin Public Internet Struggles Against Telecom, Legislature 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the always-two-there-are dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from Ars Technica: "The University of Wisconsin's Internet technology division and a crucial provider of 'Net access for Wisconsin's educational system are under attack from that state's legislature and from a local telecommunications association. At issue is the WiscNet educational cooperative. The non-profit provides affordable network access to the state's schools and libraries, although its useful days may be numbered unless the picture changes soon. Under a proposed new law, the University of Wisconsin system could be forced to return millions of dollars in federal broadband grants that it has already won, spend far more money on network services, and perhaps even withdraw from the Internet2 project."
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Wisconsin Public Internet Struggles Against Telecom, Legislature

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  • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:20PM (#36426470)
    can't they stand ANY competition?
    • by future assassin (639396) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:26PM (#36426548) Homepage

      Nope they can't handle it. Its a free market and once they are free to get big enough they are free to rape you while financially supporting your elected officials to elsablish laws that support corporate rape of you.

      • Nope they can't handle it. Its a free market and once they are free to get big enough they are free to rape you while financially supporting your elected officials to elsablish laws that support corporate rape of you.

        No they aren't, they're a monopoly mandated by the government because the govt doesn't want more than one telecom of each type laying lines in their area.

        • by Ironchew (1069966)

          No they aren't, they're a monopoly mandated by the government

          I don't think you fully grasped the GP's quote:

          Its a free market and once they are free to get big enough they are free to rape you while financially supporting your elected officials to elsablish laws that support corporate rape of you.

          • by smelch (1988698)
            Watch what happens when I bold:

            Its a free market and once they are free to get big enough they are free to rape you while financially supporting your elected officials to elsablish laws that support corporate rape of you.

            That's like lying the truth, it makes no sense.

        • Look at the situation here in France, it's funny how our very socialist country came up with something that's quite good for the consumers, and OK for the providers. Actually, I think these are Europe-wide rules, or guidelines.

          Back in the Minitel era (hay ! that's supposed to be killed next year, and there's a bit of an outrage about that :-p), we had the typical state monopoly, with good service, bad prices, and rather bad features (except that wonderful Minitel!). In order to foster competition, the state

        • by Marillion (33728)

          The aesthetics of too many wires running everywhere is at best a minor concern if it ever was a concern at all. Utility companies (including telcos, of course) are a Natural Monopoly [wikipedia.org] because the physical plant infrastructure is so expensive that it's a prohibitive barrier to entry for any competition. The common solution for decades has been to accept that fact and balance the negative effects of a monopoly via strong regulation that prevents things like price gouging and service apathy.

          We're at an intere

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      The legislature is just handing out a little payback to all those hippie college students taking over [youtube.com] their capital.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:21PM (#36426488)
    "and that government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations shall not perish from the earth."
    • by green1 (322787)

      no, it's "government of the people, by the corporations, for the corporations"... why after all would a corporation want to be governed, or have to follow any laws?

    • That is an almost direct quote of what the mexican president Vicente Fox said 6 years ago:

      "This is a government of the entrepreneurs, by the entrepreneurs, for the entrepreneurs", but entrepreneurs being equal to big corporations because these conservative assholes are doing everything possible to crush small business. You can see how much good this ended for us mexicans. The guy ended putting is signature in a book wrote by republican propagandist Rob Allyn after his term ended, called "Revolution of Hope:

      • by Moryath (553296)

        What in the fucking hell were they thinking when they put that puppet of the Koch brothers as governor?

        Just like most Tea Tardier organizations, you presume too much. You ask what they were thinking, rather than asking if they have enough functioning brain cells to form a coherent thought.

        • Sorry, I was under the assumption that voting rights there were restricted to people that weren't brain dead.

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:24PM (#36426510)
    The provision was inserted at the 11th hour by Republicans after lobbying by companies such as AT&T, claiming that these types of services should be provided by private companies. http://wistechnology.com/articles/8648/ [wistechnology.com] http://wistechnology.com/articles/8665/ [wistechnology.com]
    • Wait, you're saying the same party that went out of their way to teachers' rights, consistently goes after public education, and is opposed to net neutrality is now going out of their way to screw over universities for no legitimate reason?

      I can't even be sarcastic, that's not surprising in the least. It also will not be surprising in the least when democrats fail to effectively stop this and fail to reverse it when they get back in power. Possibly with a little encouragement from AT&T.
  • Lobbying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:29PM (#36426582)

    Used to be called corruption.

    Unfortunately, the population of a country always wait until it's too late to act and then you get a revolution.

  • Privatize everything.

    Except brutality and suffering; those will be available to everyone camped outside of the enclaves.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:33PM (#36426636)

      Privatize everything.

      Except brutality and suffering; those will be available to everyone camped outside of the enclaves.

      There has been a concerted war on the public interest in Wisconsin (and a few other states) for the past several months. IIRC, Wisconsin is where three legislators are up for recall elections, three more have the signatures filed but not validated yet, and steaming mad voters are counting the days until they can start a recall effort on the governor too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nine legislators are up for recall, Six Republicans and Three Democrats

    • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:07PM (#36426962) Journal

      Not quite.

      Privatize the gains, socialize the losses.

      That's the 2008 Financial Crisis in a nutshell. Then hold the mess up as an example of how bankrupt, stupid, and evil government and socialist organizations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are. Blame it all on the policies of the Clinton and Carter administrations. Mock GM for now being "Government Motors". Crow about how great private enterprise is. Brazenly ignore the boatload of implicit contradictions, omissions, and lies in such statements.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by HikingStick (878216)
      I lived in Wisconsin in the early 1990s. The problem we had was that the big Internet service providers/communities/BBS services were only providing dial up numbers in the major cities. If you lived in the outlying areas, you got nailed with inter-LATA calling fees that priced calls higher than long-distance calls. I remember when groups in and around the Richland County area got together--the communities, the utility cooperatives, and the local two-year University of Wisconsin campus--to help bring loca
    • I wish you were being sarcastic. But at least one GOP candidate has made that his official election platform: Pawlenty, through his "Google test", wants to eliminate all government services that are offered by private company. And since everything under the sun is being offered by a private company, even national defense would be outsourced under that platform. I'm sure he'll backpedal on that so quickly he'll appear to walk on air, but still - Republicans are the only ones who offer up such insanity.

    • by bwcbwc (601780) on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:39PM (#36427344)

      I think you left out a couple of steps:

      1. Privatize everything
      2. ???
      3. PROFIT!

      The beauty of this scheme is that step 2 is irrelevant when it comes to privatizing government services. Just about any path you take leads to #3.

      Make public schools ineffective by cutting the funding.
      Privatize the schools.
      Make a profit on government vouchers for private schools that are just as ineffective, if not worse.

      Make the prisons overcrowded by throwing uneducated kids in jail on a three strikes count.
      Privatize the prisons.
      Make a profit by cutting health and nutrition services to the prisoners.

      Make the courts ineffective by cutting funding and flooding the docket with charges against uneducated kids and internet downloaders.
      No time for lawsuits against privatized service providers???
      Profit on cost savings for liability insurance, lawyers and other items.

      Republicans in Wisconsin are obviously soft on crime. Education (and therefore education funding) mitigates future needs for prison funding. Despite what the tea party would have you think, there is a role for government services in US society. Public education is one of the essential government services, and internet service is a requirement for public education.

      Republicans always like to say that the public sector is too inefficient, and services should be privatized to improve efficiency. What they don't mention is that privatization never leads to improvement in services over the long term. Basically, the extra efficiency (if it exists) in the private sector, is consumed by profit taking. Once the initial inefficiencies are ironed out, the extra money goes as profit to the service provider, not for service improvement. Then thanks to the accounting principle of compounded growth rates, the only way for the privatized service to succeed as a company is to raise prices. Government services are not growth industries unless the population is growing dramatically.

      • by Moryath (553296)

        Uhm.. the Retardican plan is simpler than that.

        1. Privatize everything
        2. Take kickbacks from the Robber Barons you just sold everything to
        3. PROFIT!

        No question marks needed.

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      Yes, it is ok to privatize everything. However there needs to be one conditions unlimited competition. Too often, the competition is either gobbled up or the barrier to entry is raised (thanks to lobbying)

      I've always like the idea of for utilities services, that the service area is divided up and whomever services the population the best gets awarded a larger art of the pie, with a set 15-30% in contention each year. Example: DMV services. The state maintains the master database, but private enterprise can

  • Well you see... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GlobalMind (597374) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:30PM (#36426602)

    AT&T won't provide the services or will do so at triple the prices paid now. This is also a very convenient way of shorting the school system what they need, and thus have more ammo to go after them for not providing what our kids need. Thus making schools the root of all evil again. Most voters will go along with it, and the GOP in Wisconsin gets more of what it wants.

  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is just taking after his friend the former "governor" of Minnesota, Teflon Tim Pawlenty. Teflon Tim at one point wanted to move to dissolve the public transportation system (buses, primarily) and instead give waivers to poor people to buy used cars so they could get around on their own. You get the idea - put money in the hands of businesses, and ... whatever. Of course, he never said what he was going to do for the people who used public transportation because they were
    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:01PM (#36426900)

      His union-busting went well enough for his purposes

      If WI laws allowed it, he'd be facing a recall vote along with the 6 Republican senators that are already being recalled. And I'd be shocked if he doesn't face a recall when he becomes eligible for one in January. He pissed a lot of people off and if his goal was to weaken support for the unions he failed miserably. A lot of people who started out against the unions watched the unions agree to a pay cut, a benefits cut, and even a temporary moratorium on collective bargaining. There are people angry with the Democratic senators for their walk out, but even that anger isn't directed at the Unions. In the end, it was the unions who looked reasonable; while the Democrats looked petty and weak and the Republicans looked like card carrying villains.

      I think he'd be hard pressed to explain his behavior on a national stage to anyone other than anti-union Republicans. Not to mention that there are about 100k people in WI that have shown themselves ready and willing to take time off from work to stand in the literally freezing rain just to show their displeasure for him. Sometimes the "Would never vote for" column is just as important as the "Would vote for" column in polling, because it shows how active and engaged people would be to someone who is opposing him.

      • A lot of people who started out against the unions watched the unions agree to a pay cut, a benefits cut, and even a temporary moratorium on collective bargaining

        Sadly that doesn't matter to many people. The unions have become the new multipurpose boogeyman for any number of groups and causes. Go take a look at the recent story hear about an Apple Store employee who wanted to form a union, and look at how many slashdot people jumped up to bash unions in response.

        I think he'd be hard pressed to explain his behavior on a national stage to anyone other than anti-union Republicans.

        There are a lot of people in this country with strong anti-union feelings. And there are plenty of people who could be convinced to feel the same way as well. Explaining this to enough people to win the GOP nomination is trivial.

        Besides, with our current conservative POTUS in office, the republicans have to go even further to the right in order to make any distinction between what they want and what Obama has already done. Anyone who isn't rabidly anti-union will be labelled as "soft left' as the kindest.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I think he'd be hard pressed to explain his behavior ... Sometimes the "Would never vote for" column is just as important as the "Would vote for" column in polling

        His idea of "winning" probably does not match ours.

        From a purely drama-queenie, attention grabbing point of view, Palin, Hlllary, and their male equivalent Walker, ARE and have been incredibly successful. They live for the Oprah interview and the press fawning all over them, and if they don't have to bother with the responsibilities of governing, well that's great, more time to stir up controversy...

        You have to realize that both the Ds and Rs are incredibly weak here, with the exception of Feingold who was

        • where have all the real leaders gone?

          Into business, where they actually get to make decisions, i.e. where they get to buy politicians instead of just being bought.

    • There is something wrong with getting rid of buses? Large gridlocked car less city's sure but the rest. Who do I have to vote for to have this happen?

      • What sort of public transit do you propose for people who are legally unable to drive, due to age (old or young), disease, or blindness?

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          Rickshaws?

        • You are also overlooking those who for any of a variety of good reasons opt not to drive, or those who are legally forbidden from driving (repeat drunk offenders amongst others).

          Of course, public safety always takes a back seat to profit.
        • by vlm (69642)

          What sort of public transit do you propose for people who are legally unable to drive, due to age (old or young), disease, or blindness?

          The taxi companies that donated to the election campaign of the politician suggesting the government spend money on taxis?

          Its funny watching people try to rationalize simple shakedowns.

          Bringing it back to the story, why did the same governor go after certain public servant unions and not others? No deep philosophical reasons, just look at the donation records. The folks who didn't cough up enough dough have had it made perfectly clear what'll happen if they don't.

          A permanently declining economy inevitably

        • by cdrguru (88047) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:31PM (#36428700) Homepage

          You can't run a public transit system that caters to 1-2% of the population and only serves that number. It doesn't work without massive funding from the government, which people have consistently voted against.

          When I was in Chicago in the 1960s the buses and electric trains there had plenty of riders and ran 24x7. Unfortunately, the result of a lot of government programs created the "inner city" mess that everyone should be familar with. It was no longer safe to ride public transit, so if you didn't absolutely have to, you did not. Ridership dropped. Fares increased because of this, so ridership dropped some more. They ended the 24x7 service because there were too few people to make it practical. The removed station attendents and got rid of every single person in the system they could do without. The trains became less and less safe to ride.

          The end result of all of this is the train routes have been reconfigured, stations closed and buses cut way back. It is now something that is usable during rush hour and absolutely nobody goes anywhere near unless they have to. There have been attempts at bond issues for funding the CTA and every single one has failed. It is viewed that if it can't survive as an independent company, it shouldn't survive at all.

          In other places rails that were used for trains have been torn up and the land used for something else. The rail lines aren't coming back - the land is tied up now. That decision was made in the 1950s and has just finally gotten around to being noticed.

          End result is public transit is pretty much dead in the US. What was needed was massive government investment in the 1940s and 1950s to offset the investment in roads. It wasn't done, so public transit became less and less relevant to the people in the US. Sure there might be some people that it would be nice if public transit worked for, but they are far too few to support the system. It would now take the government spending billions of dollars each year in every major city to have a functional public transit system and for the most part it would be empty - except for the 1-2% that absolutely require it. It would still be a haven for crime and unsafe, but that is how we seemingly want to have inner cities.

          You might be OK with that level of government spending, but apparently very few voters are. I suppose an alternative might be to tear up the highways that have been built over the last 60 years or so and force people to use the unsafe, crime-infested public transit system. It might get enough ridership to reduce the crime level then. But it would take that kind of thing to make it work. And that would cost hundreds of billions.

          By the way, the US is broke and unless China wants to sponsor public transit in the US (maybe some nice Chinese buses?) we're not spending anything on public transit.

      • There is something wrong with getting rid of buses? Large gridlocked car less city's sure but the rest.

        After the government buys them their used car, who pays for the gas and insurance?

        While we are on the subject. Why is the political party that's supposedly against handouts the same party that promotes "vouchers" other than it's obviously harder for companies to make money off of poaching the poor if they already have what they need from the government.

      • There is something wrong with getting rid of buses? Large gridlocked car less city's sure but the rest. Who do I have to vote for to have this happen?

        There's plenty wrong. But nonetheless, if you want to get rid of buses, subways, trains, and anything else that resembles public transportation, you have your chance this year. Go vote for Teflon Tim Pawlenty, the man who was - on paper, anyways - the governor of MN for 8 years. He's been running for president since at least 2006, but this year he finally got around to declaring his candidacy.

        He'd love to have your vote. If you find the right guy, in the right back room, before the right primary, you

    • Actually, he wanted to offer subsidies to nonprofits that would give rides to people while the transit union was on strike. Blind people already were in a pickle what with the buses not running. The plan apparently didn't go through, however, and the strike lasted a month and a half.

      Not the best source, but at least it's a source: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/269165/pawlenty-s-transit-strike-katrina-trinko [nationalreview.com]

      If you're thinking of something else, you should probably provide a source.

  • Campaign donations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:32PM (#36426618)

    THis makes perfect sense when you figure that ATT is set to profit big time from this legislation and they were/are a huge campaign contributor to Scott (I'm a Douche Bag) Walker. For those of you following along, this is the second time he has done this, the first was a 23m Fed giveback that would have replaced the sub par Badgernet service.

  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:52PM (#36426804)

    This is a very nicely written and researched article, which, unfortunately, only shows in detail one horrific case study of what could soon be a widespread occurrence if the big telecom corps get what they want: to go after the government/educational market (now that the consumer market is completely saturated) and offer them half the service at twice the price.

    Organizations like WiscNet provide a fantastic public service, and the notion of dismantling them for private industry to make a buck is just reprehensible. I'm from Michigan, not Wisconsin, but I could very easily see this happening here, as we have the same issues in play: Merit Network, a non-profit co-op founded for the same reasons as WiscNet, provides Internet access to almost all the schools in the state. It would be a huge loss for our corrupt legislature to squeeze them out (never underestimate the evil of the Michigan Legislature, look up the Michigan "promise scholarship" if you don't believe me). I'm sure other states are in similar situations.

    My dad's a public school teacher, and my Internet access growing up was through Merit's dialup, which they offered free to teachers at the time. Unlike most commercial offerings back in the mid-90s (or even now) there was no monthly time allotment or bandwidth cap. I shudder to think how my experiences building web sites and learning to code would have changed had AT&T run that system. I do biomed research now, and I'm posting this from a Merit network connection that we use to collaborate with other labs across the country. Try doing that on a 250GB monthly cap.

    Hey Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association: Go to hell, and take your bandwidth caps with you.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:52PM (#36426808)

    the University of Wisconsin system could be forced to return millions of dollars in federal broadband grants that it has already won,

    So, does that mean the telecoms are going to return the BILLIONS in subsidies and tax cuts they've received?

  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:58PM (#36426858)
    Seems only fair that if the telcos want UW to pay back the grant money that was given to them by the federal government, then AT&T should have to pay back the roughly $200 billion they stole from the public to make available 45 MBit, fiber connections to the public...that they never did.
  • Competitive? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mycroft-X (11435)

    Taking tax dollars from 49 states and using it to undercut local providers isn't competition. It appears that this legislation is simply preventing WiscNet from receiving public funds from UW-Madison, which it is doing in order to do an end-run around the existing state-supported network, Badgernet.

    If WiscNet, a non-profit organization, can't provide service at lower prices than a for-profit corporation like AT&T without forced revenue from tax subsidies, then I'd say that AT&T is competitive.

    All th

    • Re:Competitive? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:39PM (#36427352)

      Taking tax dollars from 49 states and using it to undercut local providers isn't competition.

      Nice spin. You're implying that the telecommunications grant isn't available to the other 49 states and somehow the rest of the country is being shortchanged. You also overlooked the purpose of these grants. Without them private entities would not expand their broadband offering to rural areas. If there was truly a free market telecommunication market then people in rural areas would still be paying too much for POTS (plain old telephone system) and would only have dial up access to their ISP.

      I can't help but notice that the republican party advocates cutting subsidies to non-profits because of "free market" concerns, yet is amazingly quiet about government subsidies going to profitable industries (eg. oil).

      • And don't forget corn ethanol subsidies, which have the added bonus of raising food prices.

      • by hrvatska (790627)

        I can't help but notice that the republican party advocates cutting subsidies to non-profits because of "free market" concerns, yet is amazingly quiet about government subsidies going to profitable industries (eg. oil).

        You're quite mistaken. Republicans have been quite vocal in their support of oil. To be fair, subsidies for the petroleum industry is not exclusively a Republican cause. There are also a fair number idiot Democrats who seem to think oil being over $100 isn't enough incentive for companies to go out and drill for oil.

        • You got me there. I really should of said "... amazingly quiet about cutting government subsidies going to profitable industries.

          I agree about the oil subsidy issue being a little nonpartisan. Mainly because:

          1. Oil companies are successful at equating subsidies to local jobs in the minds of the voter. The republicans use this argument to justifying their pro-corporate agenda, and democrats (particularly the ones in oil states) fear the possibility that a republican opponent in the next reelection may equa

    • by Joehonkie (665142)
      Good thing AT&T never took any tax dollars or used public infrastructure, then.
    • Market rates? First, you're going to have to define what the market is. Oh, there is only one private company, one state-born and one state-supported company around? Gee, not much of a market there. Then, you're going to have to define service. What uptime? What up/download speeds? What caps? What times? What support? Finally - and this is especially important given we are talking about university access to Internet - what is the cost to research and public education when switching to ATT's version of servi

    • by SETIGuy (33768) *

      If WiscNet, a non-profit organization, can't provide service at lower prices than a for-profit corporation like AT&T without forced revenue from tax subsidies, then I'd say that AT&T is competitive.

      And is AT&T going to give up it's subsidies in order to level the playing field? I didn't think so. So we'll see AT&T with its billions in subsidies and tens of billions in profits battling WiscNet with is $0 in subsidies and $0 in profits. AT&T can provide services to the schools and libraries for free for a few years until the competition is dead. Then they can charge whatever the hell they want. (That seems to be AT&T's internet pricing formula).

    • by Jthon (595383)

      The money they took is also available to telco's. The telco's are just pissed they didn't get the money first. As it is private industry already operates with millions of dollars worth of our tax money.

    • If WiscNet, a non-profit organization, can't provide service at lower prices than a for-profit corporation like AT&T without forced revenue from tax subsidies

      They provide service to public schools, libraries, and local governments. ALL of its revenue comes from tax subsidies. As opposed to AT&T, which derives merely some of its revenue from tax subsidies, while other parts are derived from bribes for continued monopolies and subsequently jacked-up rates.

  • You know, the football team at UW Madison might compete with the NFL for ratings.
    Also the basketball team may compete with the NBA for ratings.
    Obviously there is MUCH more to privatize.

    (Or maybe there is a role for publicly owned things?)

    It gets even more crazy. On the UW, Madison campus the UW hospital is a public authority (basically a separate entity from the UW) Can the university provide LAN access to that building? Not the way things are written now.

    Craziness.

  • The contrast between Walker and another former Wisconsin governor [wikipedia.org] couldn't be greater.

    Having lived there for my first 50 years I was brought up learning all about the states progressive past. Walker is the states biggest embarassment since Joe McCarthy.

    Better change the state motto from Forward to Backward.

  • So the AT&T system would cost an additional 6 million dollars, and cost schools, and public libraries approximately 4X as much. A forward thinking Republican should propose we (i live in WI) invest in WiscNet to make it the data connection the entire state government uses - after all wouldn't the threat of a significant loss in sales force a private entity to become more competitive?
  • Link to the specific cartoon, in case you're reading this later in the week: http://www.xkcd.com/911/ [xkcd.com]
  • by white_owl (134394) on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:17PM (#36427072)
    The real target here was the federal stimulus money (NTIA, BTOP) that was being used to create coops in Wisconsin. The Building Community Capacity through Broadband project [uwex.edu] which would have connected together anchor institutions (city and county governments, libraries, schools, hospitals) and allow them to buy bandwidth wholesale rather than retail. That did not sit too well with some telecom folks and in the press they are saying that the University should not compete with the private sector. Well the University has to get bandwith in most of the state anyway to feed the various Univ of Wisc campuses. So including some school systems in the process makes sense if you believe in efficiency and cost savings. Gov Walker is "open for business" so he does not believe in government efficiency.

    WiscNet was, as I understand it a secondary concern, although the telecoms have wanted it to die for a decades. It is the same pattern of schools banding together and riding together on common infrastructure. ATT would like that to go away with WiscNet in favor of Badgernet which they run or even better, from their point of view, to sell everyone T-1 lines retail.

    This is the second effort for this. The first successful effort (from ATT's perspective) was to give back $37 million of the same stimulus money (NTIA, BTOP) for a different state run project. The spin there was that the Feds did not want to give the money to a private company. But insiders tell me that it was not the feds but ATT. ( wisconsins-stimulus-rejection-too-many-strings-or-too-much-scrutiny [fibertothewhatever.com])
    • by wytcld (179112)

      This is why corporations should be absolutely forbidden from making any attempt to influence legislatures. Free speech is for individuals, for human beings. No corporation should be allowed to speak to a legislature through any mode whatsoever. They may speak to the public. They may speak to their employees. But they may not order their employees to say anything at all to elected representatives. What citizens say to representatives should be entirely a matter of personal conscience, not paychecks. We liter

  • About up-front and blatant this move is. Generally such moves are a bit more crafty or silent. This is just a big 'FU,' we want our buddies to get their perks for their money.

    • Re:Just surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:20PM (#36427772)

      That trend has been forming for quite a while now. Until not long ago, politicians were far more sneaky when trying to dismantle public institutions to shift more power to their "friends" in various businesses. But when they noticed the general "meh" attitude that spreads in the population, I guess they felt a bit let down that we didn't even honor their attempts to veil the sellout to corporations. And now they're pretty much blunt and blatant about it. Simply because there is no public outcry. We've learned to expect that from them, we pretty much expect our politicians to screw us over. And, bluntly, why should they veil it? It's not like we have a choice. Republicans or Democrats, hanging or shooting, Kang or Kodos, it's not like there's really a difference.

      And please don't start something like "then run yourself" or "vote for another candidate". Please. At least be sensible. First, people are too stupid for democracy to really work, they're too caught up in petty bickering about how much party A is the hell spawn and if they don't vote for B the apocalypse is going to happen the day after the election. And second, the amount of money required to do something like this is crippling, it's like telling someone to open a competing telco if they're not happy with the AT&T service.

      So why should they be sneaky about selling us out? It's not like we can do anything about it anyway.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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