I was talking with folks just yesterday about the Minnesota Broadband Bill. The Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Task Force wrote a good report. It often gets distilled down to the broadband goals – but hidden in the pages are some good steps to move forward. Unfortunately those steps will stay lost if no one follows up on them.
One of the main goals that got diffused was to have a State Broadband Advisory Committee. It seems as if the bill grants the Department of Commerce permission to create such a group – but doesn’t require it, which I think doesn’t bode well for the creation of the group. (That’s not a statement on the Department of Commerce; it’s a statement on human nature.)
Without the Advisory Committee (and as we all know no money involved in the bill), progress will be slow if at all possible – unless we the people take charge. That’s what we were asking ourselves yesterday – what’s become of the blueprint in the report and what will become of it?
So I was kind of delighted when I saw the letter in the Grand Forks Herald by Anne Temte. She mentions the Minnesota Broadband Bill – and then talked about the need at the national level to effect real change. The Universal Service Funds is the specific area she mentions.
Temte was part of a group (IMPACT 20/20) who met to talk about our broadband future…
This spring, IMPACT 20/20, a group of Northwest Minnesota leaders from across industry sectors, joined together to encourage the Federal Communications Commission to expand and extend the current Universal Service Fund model to include broadband accessibility.
They worked on a letter that the sent jointly to the FCC. They’re timing and aim was good too. The Universal Service Fund is high on the agenda of the National Broadband Plan.
In the Task Force report – there is recognition that we can’t leave the decisions and the momentum to the government (local, state or national). We as citizens (or business owners, teachers…) need to step up with some solutions too. And that’s what IMPACT 20/20 has done. Visit their web site to see their specific goals and benchmarks.