Wilkin Commissioner testifies for rural broadband funding

The Wahpeton Daily News reports…

Wilkin County Commissioner Eric Klindt traveled to the Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, Thursday, April 12 to share with lawmakers the importance of having high-speed Internet in rural areas of the state.

He was there as a guest of Dan Larson, executive director of Minnesota Rural Counties, which is requesting $51.48 million this year to fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program. The state wants to meet its broadband speed goals of 100Mbps/20Mbps upload to all homes and businesses by 2026.

He spoke from personal experience…

Klindt’s experience with Internet service, though, has been frustrating. He used a wireless service for years, but it was slow. He said it would take several minutes for a map to load, when it should only take seconds. Access to weather maps and airplane tracking services are essential for him. He switched to satellite service for Internet, but it’s more expensive and his household uses up a month’s worth of data in just a week. Also, the slightest snow flurry can block the signal.

On Thursday he had only 90 seconds to get his point across to the House of Representatives’ Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee. He held up his iPad showing the downloading image he sees for minutes at a time when trying to access the Internet at home in rural Minnesota.

“I told them, this is what I experience at home. If we’re doing a video chat, I can hear you but can’t see you,” he explained, saying he used the tablet as a prop to illustrate how frustrating it is.

“In my household, there are four of us, two adults and two kids – ages 10 and 13,” he told the Daily News Media later that afternoon. “My whole (month’s) data was used up in eight days. I would have been better off staying with wireless, which was unlimited, but at a rate of just 4 megabytes per second.”

This entry was posted in Conferences, Digital Divide, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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