Legislator calls out urban-rural broadband access divide

Broadband is getting more attention since Farmfest. It’s great to see. It seems that at least judging from the folks who are engaged that the public is trying to draw in the politicians and the politicians are trying to draw in their constituents – as is the case that Brownfield Ag News reports..

Paul Marquart represents District 4B in west central Minnesota and tells Brownfield 94 percent of metro residents have access to at least the minimum broadband speeds required by state law, versus 61 percent in rural Minnesota.

“When you look at the disparity in the Twin Cities, Hennepin County (and) Ramsey County; 99 percent of the folks there have access to high-speed broadband.  (In contrast) 27 counties in rural Minnesota, less than 50 percent of those residents have that access.”

Like other Farmfest attendees he was disappointed with the level of state support for broadband…

He says Governor Dayton and the legislature have started to step forward to equalize broadband for both urban and rural residents, but was disappointed that with a $200 million budget surplus in 2015, only $10.6 million went towards broadband grants.

“That just isn’t going to do it.  That is going to be too slow.  It’s going to keep rural Minnesota behind the metro area in terms of economic development (and) in terms of education.”

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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