Thanks to Brent Christensen, President and CEO of Minnesota Telecom Alliance for sharing the letter that he sent to Governor Dayton…
Dear Governor Dayton,
On behalf of the over 70 rural broadband company members of the MTA, I am writing to strongly urge you to sign Senate File 3656, the Omnibus Supplemental Budget bill into law. I know you have concerns about sections of the bill, but we believe the good outweighs the bad. Specifically, we are writing in support of the Broadband Grant program funding. The $15 million in the bill is important if we are going to keep moving towards your goal of Border to Border Broadband.
MTA member companies have successfully used the grant program since its inception to deploy broadband to parts of Minnesota where a business case alone is not enough. For the past 4 years, the State’s investment of $85 million has leveraged over $110.6 million in matching investments. There are a lot of Broadband deployment projects that simply would not have happened if not for the grant program. We believe it is vital to our state to keep this program going. New and exciting partnerships have formed because of this grant program between private providers and local governments and other entities not traditionally involved in broadband. Beyond the money, we need the program funded to keep those discussions alive.
In addition, Minnesota has positioned itself as a leader in the nation for rural broadband. The grant program is a large reason. Many other states are looking to Minnesota’s Border to Border Broadband Grant program as a model. I will be testifying tomorrow in the Michigan House of Representatives on our program and how successful it has been.
The MTA and its member companies respectfully request you sign SF 3656 as soon as possible.
Brent J. Christensen