Participation in today’s webinar demonstrates that momentum is getting stronger for the Minnesota Broadband Development Fund in the legislature. It has support on both sides of the aisle. It has support from rural and urban areas; as demonstrated by a recent letter of support. What it needs now is for legislators to recognize that this is an issue that’s important to their constituents. If it’s important to you, now is the time to let your legislators and the governor know. (I’ll include some tips on how to do that below.) The webinar was informative and inspiring, featuring presenters and attendees who are very involved with broadband, economic development and policymaking. Lots of good questions and good insights. You can see the full webinar and presentation below…
Bird’s Eye View
The Minnesota Legislature is looking at a bill for $100 million for broadband development to help Minnesota reach the broadband goal of border to border broadband at speeds of at least 10-20 Mbps downstream and 5-10 Mbps up.
I wrote a post earlier outlining some of the details of the proposed bill. That was last week and changes have occurred since then but the big details remain the same:
- Amount appropriated: the House is currently looking at $25 million; the original proposal was for $100 million
- Definition of unserved. Priority will be given to unserved. There are two potential definitions of unserved (4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps up OR 10-20 Mbps downstream and 5-10 Mbps up)
- Community characteristics. Priority may be given to communities with anchor institutions and/or communities that are economically distressed and/or where the greatest number of people can get upgraded and/or where additional funding can be leveraged.
How you feel about these details may depend on your interest and community.
Who to Contact
- To find your legislator, go to: http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/
- For a listing of Representatives’ contact information, go to: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp.
- For a listing of Senators’ contact information, go to: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=#header
- Contact Governor Dayton by phone at 800-657-3717 or at http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/. If you use the contact form, please consider “Budget” for the Issue Topic and “Broadband” for the Subject.
- Contact Speaker Thissen by phone at 651-296-5375 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact Senate Majority Leader Bakk by phone at 651-296-8881 or at http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1003&ls=. If you use the contact form, please indicate “Budget – Broadband” as the Subject.
Thanks to the Presenters
Senator Matt Schmit, Dan Dorman from Greater Minnesota Partnership and Laura Zeigler from Minnesota League of Cities. (Laura maintains a site and Twitter account to help you keep up on the issue; Dan has a handout on the topic.)