The Grand Forks Herald brought up an interesting perspective on the broadband funding debate…
Minnesota township officials want to make sure they can attend state-mandated training, even though many do not have good enough Internet service to take the courses online.
State Rep. Brian Johnson, R-Cambridge, has a provision in a local government bill that would require in-person training sessions. Township officials do not object to the training, just the fact that the state Revenue Department says it wants to offer them only online.
“We do have issues, even in my district 50 miles north of here,” Johnson said about broadband speed.
The ROI of online classes or distance learning has been documented for years. (For example in 2002 IBM cut its costs by roughly $200 million, which was approximately one-third of its previous training budget by moving to online training.) Cutting the State training budget by one-third would be a nice saving to pass on to tax payers; it seems worth the investment of supporting better broadband so that everyone can take advantage of it. (And I suspect the saving is higher per trainee when they are in more remote areas, which are also the areas most in need of broadband investment.)
Broadband is an investment, not a sunken cost!