The Minnesota News Connection recently posted an article on the good news about the Minnesota Broadband Bill – it passed and strives for ubiquitous access. But they also point out the bad news – there’s no funding attached to the bill…
However, with no funding provisions attached, Steph Larsen, rural policy organizer with the Center for Rural Affairs, says that relying on federal dollars alone won’t begin to address the need.
“It’s going to take a lot more investment by both government and private entities to make sure that all rural Americans have the access to broadband that’s really going to expand their economies,” Larsen said.
I think the further good news is that the Bill recognizes the importance of public-private partnership, but again without funding (or mandates) it will be interesting to see how that is encouraged. I guess it’s going to have to come from the people.
I am actually in Grand Rapids this week at a meeting of MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) partners – and that has been encouraging. We’ll do a longer post on the meetings later – but the sneak preview is that a lot of folks are offering (or going to offer) support to promote broadband adoption in everything from training for businesses to telehealth applications and a lot of folks are interested in bringing those programs to their communities. There aren’t a lot of broadband providers here – but I suspect that more will be involved on a more local level. I know folks have talked about the providers and the importance of getting them involved.