The Story Exchange is featuring women running for office, such as Leah Phifer, who is running for Congress in the 8th District. She recently released an economic development plan, which includes greater federal funding for broadband…
Phifer proposes to give small businesses a hand up by pushing federal agencies to consider the effects of regulations, increasing access to business loans and stepping up federal funding for improved broadband connections in rural areas.
More than a quarter of households in rural Minnesota lack access to broadband that meets state speed targets, and demand for fast connections outpaces available funding, according to a January report by Governor Mark Dayton’s Task Force on Broadband.
Phifer argues that high-speed internet access is a necessity for the district to be competitive in today’s marketplace. Without this access, businesses struggle to sell their products online and can’t complete debit and credit card transactions efficiently.
Her plan calls for adding $1 billion a year to the FCC’s Connect America Fund to pay for the extension and improvement of broadband lines across rural America. “This additional funding will help ensure all Americans have access to quality high speed broadband service within four years of enactment,” she said in a statement.
It’s nice to see an interest in greater spending on broadband. It would also be nice to see federal funding increase their upgrade speed requirements to align with state goal of 25 Mbps down and 3 up by 2022 and 100/20 by 2026.