Saturday, June 26, 2010

BadgerNet Fiber Grant Approved

Not quite a done deal?

Link to June 26 Beloit Daily News article, "Libraries to speed up Internet".

Excerpt: The Internet’s about to get a whole lot faster at the Beloit Public Library.

The library is one of six public libraries in the area along with two local school districts to be awarded federal stimulus funds aimed at improving their Internet access.

The plan was approved Wednesday by the Wisconsin legislature’s joint finance committee, which includes State Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit.

“Expanding broadband Internet access to our small towns is the rural electrification of the 2010s,” Robson said in a press release. “Just as a federal initiative helped us light up our small towns and farms in the 1930s, federal stimulus funds today will make Internet access faster in our public libraries and schools.”

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s Administration applied for and obtained $22.9 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce, according to Robson’s press release.

Out of that total sum, $64,733 is going to the Beloit Public Library for the fiber installation. The Clinton Public Library was awarded $105,327, the Orfordville Public Library was awarded $106,204, and Parkview High School in Orfordville was awarded $119,606.

“We were delighted when we found out the grant had been approved,” said Ruth Ann Montgomery, the director of the Arrowhead Library System that includes the Beloit, Clinton and Orfordville Public Libraries.

Currently, the Beloit Public Library pays $100 a month for a 3 megabyte per second service, and the Clinton and Orfordville Public Libraries pay $100 a month for service at a speed of 1.5 megabytes per second, according to Montgomery.

After the fiber installation is complete, all of these libraries will still pay $100 a month but for a 20- megabyte-per-second service, Montgomery said.

Caveat:  The $100 a month for 20-megabyte-per-second service is contingent upon the Wisconsin Department of Administration agreeing to extend the current BadgerNet contract through November 2016, which is a clear stipulation of the grant.  I'm not aware that DOA has taken this step yet.

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