MN Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Omnibus reading

Today the Conference Committee on SF1937, Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill met to compare the House and Senate version of the bill. Unfortunately the meeting wasn’t streamed but I tried to get as much as I could on video:

First – the discussion on budget. (I couldn’t upload the first video but you can get it here.)

On a very high level here are the differences:

Broadband grants

  • The Governor recommends $60 million for broadband grants (over 2 years)
  • The House recommends $7 million for broadband grants (over 1 year)
  • The Senate recommends $20 million for broadband grants (over 2 years)

Office of Broadband

  • The House recommends a reduction in operating budget through a  reduction in the Commerce Adminsitrative Services budget.

Telecom Revenue Changes

  • The House budget forecasts a reduction in revenues in Department of Commerce and the PUC due to “VoIP Regulation Modification”
  • The Senate doesn’t see a reduction because they will allow for assessments to make up the loss.

There was some discussion about the proposed grants – suggesting a 50% match for unserved areas; 35% match for underserved areas and cap on grant amounts of $3 million.

There was some discussion about removing the idea of underserved areas since satellite reaches the whole state at speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, which was the speed definition for “underserved”.

Internet Privacy – House version is more fleshed out – includes providers, search engines and social media companies.

Agencies plead their cases to the legislators – including a few words for broadband.

I am scanning the documents I can. Also I’m going to admit to being pretty sick so I’ve done what I can. Please feel free to send me any corrections. I’m afraid if I wait until I’m healthy enough to get all of the details, the next meeting may be upon us!

This entry was posted in FTTH, MN, Policy 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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