Telecom Industry, UW System Battle Over Broadband

Sharon Rieger's picture

Citing high costs, sluggish Internet speeds on public computers and limited bandwidth for researchers, University of Wisconsin System officials are building a $37 million high-speed Internet network across the state — a web of fiber stretching from Wausau to Superior.

But a legal challenge is raising questions about the need and appropriateness of that effort. The telecommunications industry is suing to stop the project, arguing it not only violates state law, but it’s duplicative and a waste of public resources.

Most everyone agrees that accessibility to high-speed broadband Internet is as crucial to 21st century society as electricity was in the 20th century. But at issue is where it’s needed and who should be responsible for spreading it across the state.

Accounts differ as to how robust broadband networks are in Wisconsin.

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