Wanted to share this invitation from Senator Schmit. I plan to attend and take notes…
Please join me and the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM) for a regional broadband discussion from 12:30 p.m. – 2p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, at the Pine Island American Legion. The event will feature area Internet service providers, officials from the Office of Broadband Development, local officials and other regional stakeholders for a discussion on broadband Internet infrastructure investment.
What: Regional Broadband Discussion
When: Wednesday, July 27, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Pine Island American Legion – 108 1st Ave SE, Pine Island, MN
Who: Area Internet service providers, officials from Office of Broadband Development, area stakeholders, legislators, and you!
High-speed broadband Internet access is essential for applications in home-based business and teleworking, distance learning, telemedicine, and precision agriculture. Internet service providers have made significant investment throughout the state, but roughly 20 percent of homes and businesses in Greater Minnesota lack Internet access at basic speeds.
In 2014, the legislature created Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program to provide state matching funds for Internet service expansion throughout Greater Minnesota. The matching grant fund already has helped extend connectivity to over 10,000 homes, 1,000 businesses, and 100 community anchor institutions.
The 2016 legislature invested an additional $35 million in funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband grant program — as well as $500,000 in education-specific broadband use funds. The third round of funding includes a renewed focus on improving connectivity in both unserved and underserved parts of the state, as well as those areas with demonstrated economic disparities. The grants can provide up to 50 percent of project development costs, and the maximum grant amount is $5 million. The application period for 2016 opens on July 22, 2016 and closes on October 3, 2016.
The discussion aims to provide information about the grant program and bring together various broadband stakeholders and regional Internet service providers to exchange ideas for utilizing broadband Internet service to drive economic opportunity and quality of life throughout Minnesota communities.
Please let us know if you plan to attend — or if you have any questions or concerns. Otherwise we hope to see you next Wednesday!