Governor Walker Announces New Broadband Contract Saving $8 Million Annually
Increases broadband capacity on BadgerNet Converged Network for government and educational entities
Madison – Governor Scott Walker announced a new contract to increase broadband capacity on the BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN) and save taxpayers $8 million annually. Joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Governor Walker will visit the school districts of Cuba City and Southern Door to discuss the benefits of the BCN contract, as well as highlight the availability of $9 million in TEACH grants.
“Faster, more reliable access to the internet is crucial as our state continues to move into the 21st century,” Governor Walker said. “The new broadband contract we’re announcing today dramatically improves the quality of service to users. Schools and local governments throughout Wisconsin will have the ability to utilize this contract and potentially save money. Ultimately, this enhances the quality of education for our students, as well as the quality of local government services for our taxpayers.”
BCN is a statewide network serving all 72 Wisconsin counties by providing wide area network, internet transport, and video applications to state government and educational entities. This includes state technical colleges, pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade schools, private colleges, and charter schools.
Additionally, retroactive to July 1, 2016, Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) educational agencies are eligible for a bandwidth increase at no additional cost. The current $100 per month rate provides increased bandwidth capacity from 20 megabytes to any bandwidth increment less than 1 gigabyte. Many educational agencies participating in the TEACH program at bandwidths less than 1 gigabyte will receive a rate reduction of $150 a month as a result of this change, compared to the $250 they were paying.
Administered by the Department of Administration (DOA), the new contract between the state of Wisconsin and AT&T, including its partners, will provide significantly higher broadband speeds at a lower cost, saving the taxpayers nearly $8 million a year. Once upgrades and migrations are completed, the total for BCN customers will exceed 400 gigabytes of capacity compared to the current 90 gigabytes of installed bandwidth capacity.
“As technology continues to influence teaching, it is vital that we ensure kids have access to high speed internet,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Evers. “Whether it’s at a library, or a school, BadgerNet is now more affordable; allowing new opportunities for more kids.”
DOA is now accepting TEACH grant applications with $9 million available to school districts. Up to $1.5 million is available in Teacher Training Grants for Educational Technology to provide support for districts to attend, arrange, and administer training activities that build the information technology knowledge and capacity of teachers and up to $7.5 million is available in Information Technology Infrastructure grants to provide support for districts to acquire the equipment and services necessary to build a modern infrastructure system in their district. Click the links for more information about the grant requirement or reimbursement process for Teacher Training Grants for Educational Technology or Information Technology Infrastructure Grants.
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