It’s nice candidates talking about serious investment in Minnesota broadband; nice to have a new pool to draw from…
Today, Erin Murphy, DFL-Endorsed candidate for governor released the Connect MN plan which aims to provide border-to-border broadband internet access to all Minnesotans by 2026. Murphy’s plan will use the new sales tax revenue generated by the Supreme Court’s decision allowing Minnesota to collect sales tax from select out of state online retailers to provide a dedicated investment of more than $100 million each year into Minnesota’s Broadband Development Grant Program. The plan leverages additional private investments to connect Minnesota families, farmers, business owners, and schools to high-speed internet to further growth and opportunity.
“For too long, we have talked about the importance of broadband at the Capitol without the investment needed to address the scope of the challenge,” said Murphy. “When I am Governor, we will move forward with a strategic plan that will connect every Minnesotan with the high-speed internet they need to succeed.”
A broad coalition of government and private sector leaders have acknowledged the great need to invest in broadband internet, but funding has come up woefully short in recent years. Murphy’s plan would provide a dedicated source of revenue to meet the challenge facing Minnesotans.
Murphy will pay for her plan by using new revenue generated by the Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair decision, which provided new revenue for the state of Minnesota by compelling out-of-state retailers with no physical presence in Minnesota to collect and remit sales tax on purchases delivered to Minnesota. The United States Government Accountability Office estimates this sales tax will raise between $132 – $206 million per year. Murphy said utilizing this new revenue to expand online access is a strategic path to ensure every Minnesotan has access to high-speed Internet.
Currently, 550,000 households, more than 26 percent across the state, lack access to high-speed internet. Largely in greater Minnesota, this lack of connectivity causes significant barriers for our students, farmers, and small business owners. Murphy’s plan is based on the statutory internet speed goals of 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up by 2026. This baseline will allow small business owners to keep up with the speed of business, students to complete their homework online without interruptions, and will ensure global connectivity for all Minnesotans.
Universal access to broadband spurs innovation and drives economic development, education, healthcare and quality of life. One study indicates that a community will see a $10 return on investment for every $1 invested in broadband.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make progress on an issue holding back too many Minnesotans in communities all over the state,” said Murphy. “It’s a critical step in ensuring that everyone in Minnesota can build a bright future for themselves and their families.”