Minneapolis Star Tribune supports Minnesota broadband funding for unserved and underserved

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is in support for broadband funding – but they are concerned that discussion of who may receive the money may get in t the way…

The worrisome news is that a tussle has emerged among advocates of broadband about what should take precedence in grant allocations — aid for the “unserved” or the “underserved.” Should state funds be directed at providing connections where they are lacking or boosting service in places where speeds meet the 2010 state standards but are insufficient for today’s commercial, medical and educational needs?

They offer a proposal that would leverage greater private (or at least non-state) funding for projects in underserved areas…

We hope the answer is “both.” Both situations represent a failure of the private marketplace, which justifies state action. But legislators could design the grant program to require a larger local government and/or private-sector match for projects to improve existing service, while offering a richer match for the remaining unserved portions of the state.

They suggest pulling broadband out on the omnibus to get it greater consideration…

The other worry is that despite growing legislative support, a boost for broadband grants could still get stuck in the partisan logjam that snagged major bills last year and has yet to give way. That would be a sorry fate for what some advocates are calling the most important Greater Minnesota economic development bill of the year. That’s why legislators would do well to keep broadband in a stand-alone bill, rather than including it in an omnibus measure laden with more controversial provisions. Legislators, especially those from Greater Minnesota, deserve the chance to vote on a clean broadband bill — and their constituents deserve the chance to hold them accountable for their votes.

Having witnessed the outrage of rural constituents at Farmfest last year who felt that many representatives dropped the ball on broadband funding, I think the idea of offering legislators an opportunity to very clearly rectify that notion is worth considering.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

One thought on “Minneapolis Star Tribune supports Minnesota broadband funding for unserved and underserved

  1. Let’s keep the focus on the 100/20 Mb goal, not the lame 25/3 Mb goal. If the 25/3 goal is recognized, that means that the 2022 goal will be just slightly faster upload but three times slower that the goal set in 2010 (10-20 down and 5 – 10 up)! All while the marketplace is moving towards Gigabit speeds!! Just say no to 25/3!

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