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Internet-provider WiscNet to be discussed at hearing

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The future of a non-profit Internet provider for Wisconsin schools will be discussed at a legislative hearing this afternoon.

For years, Wisc-Net has provided low-cost web service to the U-W System, public schools, and public libraries. Republicans said the arrangement creates an economic disadvantage for commercial Internet providers, and they ordered to U-W to drop out of Wisc-Net. The university then sought bids for a new Web provider – and Republicans were upset when they gave the new contract to Wisc-Net. The U-W recently rescinded the deal, saying Wisc-Net’s future is too uncertain considering the politics of the matter.

State public school Superintendent Tony Evers said K-to-12 schools may have to hook-up with higher-priced Internet providers, saying they might not have the resources to keep Wisc-Net going without the U-W’s help.

The Senate’s colleges and telecommunications panel will hear from invited witnesses on the issue.