Rep Hamilton applauds MN broadband grants and challenge process

AgWeek features a Letter to the Editor from Representative Rod Hamilton. He applauds the grant challenge process…

Thanks to GOP-led efforts, $32 million of the $35 million in grants were targeted toward unserved areas of the state. Additionally, because of policy reforms to the program, the Minnesota State Broadband fund leveraged Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) federal broadband funding to amplify connectivity into rural areas of the state. In total, Minnesota is expected to see half a billion dollars in combined state and federal broadband funding between 2015 and 2021.The legislature approved a total of $45 million in broadband grants during the 2015 and 2016 legislative session. When combined with federal CAF II funds, Minnesota will see more than $100 million in broadband expansion this year alone.

It’s great to see that investment happening in rural areas – although I think it’s helpful to remind folks that the CAF money only requires providers to upgrade to 10 Mbps down and 1 up (10/1) access, which is much slower that short term (25/3 by 2022) and long term (100/20 by 2026) Minnesota broadband speed goals.

He also mentions projects funded in his area…

A total of $2.94 million will be used by Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company for Nobles County broadband. This project will serve 469 unserved households, 1,060 unserved businesses and six unserved community anchor institutions in Nobles County. Lismore Cooperative and other partners will provide services that improve opportunities for health care, education and telecommuting.

Westbrook will also receive $412,391 through Woodstock Telephone. This project will serve 368 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses and seven unserved community anchor institutions in Westbrook in Cottonwood County. Woodstock will improve services that encourage business growth and more access to health care, education and telecommuting opportunities.

1 thought on “Rep Hamilton applauds MN broadband grants and challenge process

  1. I got a note suggesting an even better way to look at the CAF 2 funding…

    The more fair comparison is between CAF II and the actual infrastructure the grant program builds: service scalable to 100 Mbps symmetrical. That’s different than the eligibility requirements in the law (which are based on state speed goals).

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