On Monday, Growth & Justice and One Minnesota held press conferences in St Paul and St Cloud where we unveiled the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint Policy Priorities. In the last year, they met in large and small groups to talk about Minnesota’s top priorities shared by rural, urban and suburban Minnesota. They started with more than 600 ideas and have culled it, at this point to the following 11 top priorities:
- Democracy and Civic Health
- Economic Development
- Climate Action and Environment
- Infrastructure, Transportation and Transit
- Health Care
- Education, Early Childhood Through Post-Secondary
- Broadband & Digital Inclusion
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Taxes, Budgets and Investments
Here’s what they recommendation for broadband…
Broadband & Digital Inclusion Problems: More than a half-million Minnesotans still lack access to a wired connection capable of very minimal upload and download speeds. They are located primarily in rural Minnesota but low income people in metro areas are underserved as well. The lack of optimum connectivity to the national and global economy is a major barrier to equal opportunity and economic development in an increasingly digital world.
Align public policies with the principle that internet connectivity has become essential to individual and economic competitiveness and should be considered a public necessity, regulated and provided in same manner as electricity, energy and transportation and health care.
Provide on-going biennial funding of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program until the state achieves its broadband speed goals. Extend grant period to multi-year grants for improved planning and deployment.
Provide direct funding for broadband mapping. Add data collection and mapping related to home broadband affordability, the broadband adoption rates of low-income households, and the digital redlining of urban neighborhoods. Develop an inventory for best management practices (BMP) for broadband and deployment of broadband service in rural, sparsely populated areas, in high-cost regions, and in under-resourced urban neighborhoods.
Links: Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, Minnesota Governor’s Broadband Task Force,
I noted that one of the reporters at the St Paul meeting was quick to ask specifically about rural broadband. (That’s where the video below picks up.)