A plan in Governor Jim Doyle's budget to use $12.6 million from the Universal Service Fund to pay for Internet upgrades in Wisconsin's public libraries is drawing fire, but it shouldn't.
The fund, which is supported by a fee on land-line telephones, was started in 1993 with the purpose of providing Internet and other cutting-edge technologies to rural areas where traditional providers may not find it profitable to set up shop.
In recent years, some of the $32 million fund has gone to public libraries to beef up their Internet offerings. Rural schools have also received money to help upgrade technologies.
For rural communities where access to the Internet may be limited and some families may not even have computers, libraries and schools critical access to online services such as Job Centers.
There isn't a much better place that the money could go to provide a much-needed public access to good technology than libraries and public schools. (RG's emphasis)
First Appleton. Now Ashland. Now far can we work out way through the alphabet? (Thanks to Jim Trojanowski, Northern Waters Library System Director, for bringing this editorial to my attention -- and for his tireless library advocacy efforts.)