The St Paul Pioneer Press recently ran an editorial from Rick King, executive vice president and chief information officer at Thomson Reuters and chair of the original Minnesota Broadband Task Force. Her recognizes that momentum has been built around broadband…
According to the 2016 report card, we are making good progress and building momentum:
The data show we neared our universal access and high-speed goal as of February 2015 with 91 percent of Minnesota households having access at the state-mandated speeds. Not quite universal but close and an improvement on the number in 2010, which reported 58 percent access at the 2015 speed. Rural households climbed to 80 percent, a big jump from 52 percent in 2010.
As for the state broadband leadership position within the United States, Minnesota’s average speed of 12.9 Mbps places us 21st among the states. In 2010, we were 23rd for speed and 24th for access. Globally, Minnesota comes in 42nd, between the United States at 41st and Slovenia at 43rd, out of the 109 countries reporting. We have not made much progress here, nor has the United States for that matter.
The private sector continues to lead with an enormous investment but is hampered by having to meet its own return-on-investment goals. The federal government has helped with both policy and funding, and the state of Minnesota created the Office of Broadband Development within DEED and created and funded (twice so far for a total just more than $30 million) the Border-to-Border Grant Program.
And supports recommendations made by the current Broadband Task Force…
We must continue to make broadband a priority in Minnesota, continue to fund the Office of Broadband Development and set forth new objectives to:
- Revise our goals in the statute for universal access and speed as indicated in the 2016 report.
- Support the governor’s proposal to allocate at least $100 million a year for the next two years for the Border-to-Border program this session.
- Explore in depth the demands and actions needed for cyber security for our state broadband infrastructure.