Minnesota Broadband Task Force – final edit of annual report

The Task Force met today to do the final edit of their MN Broadband Task Force report. I have notes on the specifics below. It helps to follow along with the penultimate draft (Part 1 & Part 2). The focus remains on getting ongoing funding for the Office of Broadband Development and for the Broadband grants – until the state speed goals are met.

Here are their recommendations:

  • Provide $71.482 million in ongoing biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.
  • Provide the OBD with funding at $250,000 per year in ongoing funding, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.

The next step is making the changes discussed and moving this toward getting published.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
December 7, 2017
Minnesota Senate Office Building—Room 2308
95 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55155

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. –10:10 a.m.  Introductions, Approval of  Minutes, Public Comments

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Office of Broadband Development Update

On the grants:

  • $26 million in awards – more than $20 because some prior projects came under budget and/or money was returned.
  • 9 new partners in this round

On Jane Leonard

  • Jane is moving to Growth & Justice
  • They are looking to fill that job

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Review Final Draft of Report

  • Early next year we will work on a future-looking report. This is an abbreviated report.
  • Maybe we won’t meet every month next year – since it’s our final year. Maybe that will change if we get more grant funding.
  • Everyone has done good work. I think we resolved our final issue earlier this week.

Discussion on

Letter to Governor

  • – change mention of time length of Task Force

Executive Summary

  • The recommendations are:
    Provide $71.482 million in ongoing biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.
    Provide the OBD with funding at $250,000 per year in ongoing funding, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.
  • – should you include info on other funding?
    This hasn’t been added in the past.
    But it might be important
    Maybe just added a sentence on the continued partnership with Department of Commerce would be helpful
  • – we talk about full funding
    we’ve talked about asking the OBD to do more – such as with adoption – but the amount we’ve requested doesn’t cover those items.
    So let’s remove the word FULL

Pg 5 – we have raised the following sentence:

  • Appendix B contains letters from various stakeholders, including a letter from a group of 24 organizations representing many rural interests that expresses support for ongoing funding of the grant program and the OBD, but raises some concerns, including with the current challenge process.

Pg 6 – question on numbers

  • $26.47 million really includes overhead and unused funds
    Maybe use the term approximately $6 million

Pg 8 – nice to include measure of rural


  • Talk about font and layout
  • Added another map

Pg 14

  • Need consistency in titles in callout boxes
  • Discussion on how the Task Force came up with $71.482 million. Where does it comes from?
  • Exact number makes sense in the era of transparency.
    Maybe we need to change spacing and layout.

Pg 15

  • We say “the cost is offset by CAF 2 and ACAM” but that funding does not require network improvements that meet state goals. CAF 2 and A-CAM only require 10/1 speeds. (10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up).
    We could create a map.
    We have discussed the CAF 2 in previous reports.
    CAF and A-CAM are additive – they are not the same.
    The Office wanted us to include the funding mix – if we didn’t add it now, it would get added later.
  • Need to be specific that the State is not getting the funds. Providers will be getting those funds.

Pg 16

  • Do we include the name of the former CIO? Yes

Pg 12 & 13 – footnotes are wonky.

Pg 19

  • Let’s not talk about $250,000 being full funding – it doesn’t really cover the costs of everything the OBD is legislated to do. The key however is ONGOING.
  • Change infirm to chronic conditions

Appendix A – OBD Statutory Charges

Appendix B – includes letters received by the Task Force

  • We have submissions on the challenge process – (such as Matt Schmit’s letter) – some letters go out of their way to disparage satellite and the Task Force hasn’t been pushing the satellite. DO we need to keep them.
    We do need a way to make these public.
    How are written notes different from people who come to speak? We don’t catalog their comments. I listen more closely to the people who show up. I share concerns of the tone of the letters. People who came to talk are not as well represented.
    So do we decide no letters? I don’t advocate that. We could get only letters that represent the broadest view (those written by organizations) and then post the others on the website only.
  • But there was a legislator did talk about the satellite being the answer.
    But that doesn’t relate to the Task Force.
    What have we done in the past? Posted the letters.
    Maybe we could just post the letters on the website.
    But posting on the website editorializes the letter too.
    Maybe we add an Appendix – one for the coalition letter, one for public comments in person, and then all other letters.
    I think these letter are important.

Next step – a vote to adopt the report pending changes discussed

11:15 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Vote on Approval of Report/Adjourn

  • Unanimous vote
  • Decision to not meet in Jan, maybe not in summer
  • Recognition of John’s work.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Lunch (Capitol basement)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s