Update: Wis. lawmakers spare broadband program

The proposal would have forced the system to return millions in grants.

A controversial plan to cut $37 million in federal grant money from the University of Wisconsin system has been axed from the 2011-13 budget, according to a legislator involved with the process.

In a letter to a constituent, released to the State Journal Tuesday, state Rep. Erik Severson, R-Star Prairie, said the program known as WiscNet will continue unaltered for the next two years while a study is conducted to evaluate the program.

“Through much discussion with my colleagues, and after hearing from you and other members of the community on this complex subject, I am pleased to announce that WiscNet will not be changed by the budget bill,” Severson wrote.

The decision should come as good news to the UW Board of Regents, who vowed last week to fight the legislation, which would also end WiscNet, a statewide internet provider.

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