MN Broadband Task Force recommendations $70 million to meet speed goals (100 Mbps down and 20 up by 2026)

The Minnesota Broadband Task Force has released their annual report. It’s an abbreviated version of usual report as they are gearing up for next year’s report, which unless something changes will be the last.

Here’s the quick take on the status of broadband in Minnesota…

As reported by Connected Nation in October 2017, 88.11 percent of Minnesota households have wireline broadband access available at a speed of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), while 73.45 percent of rural Minnesota households have a wired broadband connection that meets these speeds. Nearly 70 percent (70.04 percent) of Minnesota households have wireline speeds of 100 Mbps/20 Mbps. In rural areas of Minnesota, 52.88 percent of households have access to these speeds. As Minnesota strives to meet its updated broadband speed goals, much work remains.

Their recommendations…

This report contains two recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature:

  • Provide $71.48 million in on-going biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband speed goals.
  • Provide the Office of Broadband Development with $500,000 on-going biennial funding and maintain the existing partnership with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, until the state achieves its broadband speed goals.

I want to highlight the first recommendation because the recommendation in the report itself is different from what is in the press release. Here’s the recommendation as stated in the press release:

  • Provide $71.48 million in on-going biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband goals. This funding amount, which accounts for federal funding through the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF II) and the FCC’s Alternative-Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), would provide service to the 252,000 Minnesota households that currently lack Internet service at the state’s speed goals of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.

The big difference is that the press release only alludes to the 25/3 speed goals (with a goal date of 2022). The state also has a speed goal of 100/20 by 2026. The state funding has required networks to be scalable to higher speeds; the federal funding does not.

Here’s the text from the statute:

It is a state goal that (1) no later than 2022, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least three megabits per second; and (2) no later than 2026, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.

The difference is a big one – especially since the future of the Task Force is uncertain. The statute leaves room for 25/3 being a stepping stone, not a resting place for broadband speeds.

And a look at state versus rural status…

This entry was posted in MN, MN Office of Broadband Development, Policy, Research 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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