The Post Bulletin outlined broadband grants awarded in Southeast Minnesota. They also got reaction to the grant program from Senator Jeremy Miller…
One of the big questions looking ahead is whether lawmakers will invest more in the state’s Border-to-Border fund during next year’s legislative session. The Legislature approved $20 million for broadband funding this year. The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband has recommended $100 million be invested over two years. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton called for a $66 million investment last session.
Demand for the grants is outpacing funding. The state received a total of 70 applications seeking $50 million during the most recent grant cycle.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, authored the jobs budget bill that included the $20 million for broadband funding. He said he is a strong supporter of the state’s Border-to-Border broadband program. However, he said lawmakers first need to see the updated budget forecasts to see if there will be extra money available to invest in broadband. Those forecasts project whether the state will have a budget surplus or budget deficit in the coming year.
Miller added, It’s important for folks in rural areas to have high-speed internet access. Times are changing and internet access is more important than ever. So think it’s critically important that we are investing in getting folks that access.”