A great example of Minnesota leading by action. But to keep a ahead of the curve, we need to keep investing. The Des Moines Register reports…
This summer, Gov. Reynolds created the Empower Rural Iowa task force, and rural broadband is one area where the citizen-led commission has made recommendations to bolster rural Iowa housing, leadership and overall quality of life.
Empower Rural Iowa was initially focused on broadband, housing and rural leadership. The recommendations made this month for broadband include identification of a sustainable funding source for the state’s broadband grant fund. That makes sense, since the main impediment to further expansion of broadband networks and services is financial – it’s expensive to serve rural, sparsely populated areas.
The timing for this action is critical because our neighbors are already moving. Over the past several years, Minnesota’s broadband grant funding has ranged between $10 million and $35 million per year. Wisconsin’s broadband fund has grown to $14 million per year. Its latest round of grants totaled $7 million, distributed among 37 recipients who serve 1,100 business locations and 14,000 residences.