Austin Daily Herald promotes funding for underserved and unserved areas

Another example where people who are talking about the Minnesota broadband fund are in agreement that it’s good idea – just a matter of details. Austin Daily talks about funding for underserved and well as unserved areas…

District 27 Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, introduced a bill late last week that would make sure cities like Austin and Albert Lea are eligible to receive current and proposed broadband funds after many existing grants and some initial bills this session limited the cities that would qualify. “We also want to make sure that cities like Austin or Albert Lea qualify,” Sparks said. At issue is the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband grants and some state statutes in regards to access to broadband funding across the state. Currently, many of the funding sources target unserved communities but not underserved communities.

The article also gives an update on local broadband efforts Gig Austin…

In Austin, most broadband efforts would likely go through Gig Austin, a nonprofit effort through Vision 2020’s Community Wide Technology Committee aiming to bring high-speed Internet and massive amounts of data to the city through a gigabit-level network. Austin Utilities General Manager Mark Nibaur, a member of the Gig Austin committee, said the committee has been meeting with potential partners in recent months, like the city, county and Austin Public Schools along with Vision 2020’s Business Friendly and Education Leaders committees to gauge interest in future partnerships. While Austin, Mower County and school district leaders haven’t yet pledged any money toward Gig Austin, Nibaur said they’ve provided feedback and showed the potential for future partnerships. After gathering more input and after further discussions, Nibaur said the committee could go to the Hormel Foundation again and determine a next step.

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

About Ann Treacy

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

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