Wisc. readies broadband list

Wisconsin officials expect to have a list of vendors available soon that cities and counties statewide can use to help them set up wireless broadband service for residents. A request for proposals (RFP) closed Jan. 24. The first city to use the list should be Madison, which expects to have a contract in place within several months and have service up and running later this year.

Wisconsin is one state that has laws restricting municipalities from acting as their own utility to provide telecommunication services to residents. The program Wisconsin is pulling together, called Wireless Wisconsin, places various requirements on the service providers who end up on the list, said Matt Miszewski, the state's chief information officer.

The most important is the service providers they make their wireless systems interoperable so that a Wireless Wisconsin user in one city or county will be able to seamlessly roam on a service in another.

Municipalities will not have to use the vendors on the list to set up broadband wireless service, Miszewski said. "We're not mandating that, but we are trying to make the case that it would be in their interest to do so," he said. With that in mind, the state designed the RFP to attract a diverse set of vendors, he said, to try and make sure municipalities had the best choices possible to fit their needs.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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