Minnesota Broadband vs Wisconsin Broadband: Mankato says MN wins!

A recent editorial in the Mankato Free Press compares Minnesota and Wisconsin broadband policies…

Recent news out of Wisconsin highlighted two different approaches to economic development and a reaffirming perhaps that though the Badgers can still beat us in football and basketball, we’ve got their number when it comes to broadband development.

Gov. Scott Walker recently touted a recent $1.5 million annual investment in rural Wisconsin broadband, a figure that is not quite 5 percent of the investment the Minnesota Legislature approved last year.

They recognize the political sway behind the decision to back broadband…

It’s important to note that many outstate Minnesota Republicans in the Legislature broadly supported broadband and increasing the investment. They know that bringing technology to places lacking it allows businesses to expand and bolsters the outstate economy. We should not allow technology to be a limiting factor in quality of life in small town Minnesota. …

However, Republican support for rural broadband grants in Minnesota was not unanimous. In fact, Rep. Pat Garofalo, chairman of the House jobs and energy affordability committee, at one point suggested doing away with all broadband grant money, saying the technology was going to be obsolete.

His Republican colleagues in outstate persuaded him to, if not change his mind about that idea, at least be quiet about it.

They set the tone for continued political support for broadband, even to a national level…

We hope the outstate Republican support for broadband shows that national Republican Party ideology does not drive economic development policy in Minnesota. Republicans were once called “Independent Republicans” in Minnesota. It seems some still are oriented that way for the good of outstate.

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.

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