Friday, July 22, 2011

BCCB/Access WI Lawsuit update and summary

What follows is an email from Jennifer Smith, Communications & Web Manager, UW Extension Office of Broadband Sustainability.  [BCCB]   Very grateful to Joshua Klingbeil, IT Director, Wisconsin Valley Library Service, for forwarding this to me.  

Hi, everyone—I’m sending this message on behalf of Maria [Alvarez Stroud, Director, Office of Broadband Sustainability], who is out today but who wanted to make sure you have the latest news regarding the Access Wisconsin lawsuit and how it may impact our work with the BCCB infrastructure grant.  In a nutshell: keep doing the great work you’re doing. 

While we will give you an update today as initial guidance and will continue to update you as things progress, the most important piece of this news for you is to just keep going; your work is the most important piece of this right now.

If BCCB community partners are contacted by media or elected officials regarding the lawsuit:
·        The project has been approved by the state and federal governments.
·        Hundreds of stakeholders signed on to the project.
·        The project benefits public and nonprofit institutions and helps grow the Wisconsin economy.
·        Wisconsin ranks 43rd in the country for access to high speed Internet, so this project is a chance for us to leapfrog over other states.
·        Continue advocating for broadband expansion and elaborating on specific local benefits.
·        Please feel free to use our past materials in promoting this project.
·        The bottom line is: Do no harm. Avoid negative comments about the plaintiffs, who are exercising their legal rights. We have many allies on this issue and want to respect their positions.

BCCB community partners’ roles in the lawsuit:
·        Community partners are not a party to the lawsuit and so do not need to change how they conduct themselves.
·        Community partners’ interests are not threatened, so they could choose to file an amicus brief; UW is neither urging partners to do so nor rejecting their interest in taking this step. Any partners interested could speak to UW lawyers.

UW System’s messages regarding the lawsuit:
·        We are doing what’s right and doing it in a legal manner and there is absolutely no evidence to the contrary.
·        UW is operating well within the boundaries of the law by continuing the BCCB project.
·        UW lawyers will present arguments in court and aggressively defend the BCCB project against what appears to be a lawsuit without merit. We will not comment in detail in advance.

About the Access Wisconsin lawsuit:
·        The Wisconsin Independent Telecommunications Systems, operating  as Access Wisconsin, filed a lawsuit July 20, 2011, against the UW Board of Regents, WiscNet, CCI Systems and the state Department of Transportation seeking to stop the BCCB federally funded project.
·        On July 21, 2011, a Dane County judge, Peter Anderson, denied a temporary restraining order to stop the work.
·        Access Wisconsin will present its side and UW System lawyers will present the BCCB side at an Aug. 30, 2011, hearing presided over by Judge Anderson.
·        Judge Anderson’s decision is expected in about a week after the hearing.
·        If Judge Anderson decides in favor of BCCB going forward, Access Wisconsin can appeal in the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison.
·        If Judge Anderson rules in favor of Access Wisconsin, next steps would depend on findings of fact and the wording of an injunction.

Related WiscNet/BCCB posts:
Judge Anderson denies UW broadband restraining order.  (7/21/2011)
Plaintiffs v. Defendants.  (7/20/2011)
Telcos whine while Wisconsin falls behind.  (7/20/2011)
Access Wisconsin news release.  (7/19/2011)
LRB clarifies WiscNet veto. (6/30/2011)
WiscNet:  Moving Forward.  (6/30/2011)
Walker's WiscNet veto:  What does it mean?  (6/27/2011)
Rest assured they'll be more fights in this battle.  (6/24/2011)
Wisconsin Senate passes budget.  (6/17/2011)
Amendment update.    (6/16/2011)
Assembly passes budget at 3:05 a.m.  (6/16/2011)
Wispolitics budget blog.  (6/15/2011)
Wisconsin ranks 43rd for broadband Internet coverage.  (6/15/2011)
Ron Kind news release.  (6/15/2011)
Assembly 8.  (6/15/2011)
Highest level alert.  (6/15/2011)
This is what democracy looks like.  (6/15/2011)
WSTA's day of disappointment.  (6/14/2011)
They can hear us now.  (6/14/2011)
Appleton Post-Crescent editorial.  (6/14/2011)
YouTube video.  (6/14/2011)
Hedberg Public Library promotes WiscNet.  (6/14/2011)
League of Wisconsin Municipalities press release.  (6/14/2011)
UW General Counsel opinion.  (6/13/2011)
Ars Technica WiscNet coverage.  (6/13/2011)
Wausau Daily Herald editorial.  (6/13/2011)
If your representative is Robin Vos...   (9/13/2011)
Baraboo School Board unhappy with JFC WiscNet action.  (6/13/2011)
WiscNet debate from the NE WI prospective.  (6/12/2011)
David Weinhold letter to editor.  (6122010
Rep. Moelpske's statement. (6/11/2011)
COLAND letter to Sen. Fitzgerald.  (6/10/2011)
Rhonda Puntney's op-ed piece.  (6/10/2011)
Nass letter to Fitzgerald and Vos.  (6/9/2011)
CINC response.  (6/9/2011)
UW response.  (6/9/2011)
Manna from heaven.  (6/8/2011)

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