Latest News

2601, 2015

Announcing: Susan Crawford – Keynote Speaker

We have some pretty exciting news for you folks today: Susan Crawford will be a keynote speaker at the WiscNet Future Technologies Conference 2015!

Susan CrawfordSusan Crawford is currently working with the Telecommunications Equality Project at the Roosevelt Institute and just finished 2014 as the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor in Intellectual Property at the Harvard Law School and a co-director of the Berkman Center. She is the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, and co-author of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance.

Susan is a contributor to’s Backchannel, but you can find her thoughtful analysis all over the web. We’ve pulled together a few favorites:

When it Comes to High-Speed Internet, U.S. ‘Falling Way Behind’ from NPR’s All Tech Considered

The Next Elizabeth Warren from The New Republic

The quest for high-speed fiber: a conversation with Susan Crawford, from The Verge

Our conference takes place May 11 & 12, 2015 at the Monona Terrace and Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Registration is open.


1201, 2015

Thinking Ahead to E-Rate 2016

shutterstock_148267295The E-Rate program just got interesting for schools and libraries. It’s going to take a bit to explain. Fasten your seat belts and keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.

The FCC began poking at the E-Rate program in July 2014. In short, they dropped support for telephones and added support for wireless connectivity in schools and libraries. “Nice start, E-Rate.”

In late December the FCC announced that it would increase the funds available for schools and libraries from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion. “Thanks E-Rate Santa!”

We came back after the holidays and started digging into the details. There are three other – very big, very interesting – gifts that E-Rate Santa left behind.

E-Rate Lifts Barriers Preventing Schools and Libraries from Building/Owning Fiber Networks

Beginning in E-Rate 2016 (not this funding year – next) schools and libraries will be allowed to use E-Rate funds to build and own their own fiber infrastructure. They will also be able to spread the non-discounted costs over several years instead of paying it all up front.

Your $100,000 project just turned into a $30,000 project that can be spread over 3 years. 10x the capacity at 1/10 the current state contract rates. You can know own the infrastructure instead of leasing it. It’s paid for after 3 years and yours to use as you see fit (10 Gbps, 1000 Gpbs) years 4 – 20.

E-Rate Adds Money to the Fund

I mentioned earlier that E-Rate Santa raised the funding from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion per year. Turns out, there’s an extra $1.5 billion laying around from previous years that will get plowed into E-Rate 2015 and 2016. E-Rate 2017, 2018, and 2019 earmarks $1 billion of the overall fund specifically to internal connections.

For the first time in forever, there’s more money available in the E-Rate program.

E-Rate Adds Support for Rural Areas

When the FCC first proposed changes in July 2014, a number of schools and libraries that were previously designated “rural” were reclassified as “urban”. Many communities as small as 2500 found themselves on the wrong side of that line. Changes in December 2014 now consider communities of less than 25,000 to be rural.

Two other details regarding rural schools and libraries. The FCC intends to establish pricing benchmarks in order to keep providers honest with pricing in rural vs. urban areas. The FCC will also require providers respond to RFP’s from schools and libraries if that provider serves that area. Both changes will push providers towards lower, more reasonable pricing.

Interestingly, many of Wisconsin’s best connected schools are already in rural areas. The FCC is doing their best to create more opportunities for rural Wisconsin.

This, friends, is all really big news for schools and libraries looking to support the needs of their communities. Back in 2009 we used the National Broadband Plan and federal broadband stimulus program to ignite interest in making things happen. These strategies proved incredibly successful for communities ranging from Waukesha to Fall Creek. While a few benefited from federal and state funding programs, many communities simply found the value in working together – schools, libraries, hospitals, city, county, higher ed – to address their own needs directly.

We have another interesting opportunity ahead with these changes to the E-Rate program for schools and libraries. Again, most of the pieces above won’t be in place until the 2016 E-Rate cycle (not this one, the next). We’re planting the seeds for you to begin thinking ahead.

801, 2015

The Internet is us, connected.

The Internet is us, connected.

The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.

The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.

Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms.

Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.

We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.

From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.

The Net is of us, by us, and for us.

The Internet is ours.

Cluetrain – New Clues

1812, 2014

Upcoming Erate Webinars

In light of the major changes to the E-rate program coming up in 2015, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is offering a series of webinars on various topics over the next six weeks.

The first of these is scheduled for tomorrow. Click through to register.

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, 2:00-3:00pm CST
FCC Form 470 Online Demo Webinar

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, 2:00-3:00pm CST
Eligible Services Webinar

Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, 2:00-3:00pm CST
Program Compliance Webinar

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, 2:00-3:00pm CST
Category Two Budgets Webinar

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, 2:00-3:00pm CST
Discount Calculations Webinar

Thursday, Jan. 13, 2015, 2:00-3:00pm CST
Urban/Rural Tool Webinar

Please note that the presenters will not accept live questions during the webinars.

If you cannot attend, all webinars will be recorded and will be available the following day in the Schools and Libraries Program’s Online Learning Library and via links from the DPI E-rate web page at

412, 2014

Discontinuing WiscNet’s Central Filtering Service as of 7/1/2015

WiscNet plans on discontinuing the WiscNet Central Filtering service effective July 1, 2015. Last summer, most WiscNet members moved to the WiscNet Local Filtering service (iBOSS), allowing much more flexibility, improved support, and many added features over our previous solutions.

WiscNet’s license for the previous Trustwave product expires 7/1/2015. We will be decommissioning the server at that point. In the meantime, we are here to help you with options, including moving to our WiscNet Local Filtering service. Please contact our technical support folks at your convenience and let us know if you have questions.
608-442-6761 extension 2

112, 2014

Chris Lehmann – McGraw Prize in Education Winner

In 2010, Chris Lehmann, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA,  visited Wisconsin as a keynote speaker at WiscNet’s Future Technology conference. In October, Chris was awarded the McGraw Prize in Education. I highly recommend you not only watch this acceptance speech, but also take the opportunity to visit SLA in January 2015 at EduCon 2.7.