Agri News posts…
Minnesota House DFL lawmakers have followed up on their ambitious “Minnesota Values Plan’’ that was publicized this fall through tours across the state with the introduction of 10 legislative initiatives.
The bills should spark discussions in St. Paul and may earn bipartisan legislative support.
Early childhood education, more affordable health care, putting a damper on escalating prescription drug prices and more are among the initiatives. However, none are more important than expanding rural broadband infrastructure and opportunities.
Why is rural broadband expansion so important for Minnesota residents?
It would expand business and employment opportunities across the state. Some universal broadband advocates say that availability in rural areas would be as impactful as the installation of electric service to rural communities and farms through coordinated government and private party efforts in the 1930s.
Broadband expansion would improve rural health care and education opportunities. Federal government statistics have consistently shown that broadband leads to better-paying jobs, reduced unemployment and increased satisfaction with regards to quality of life issues.
Broadband access disparity is a continuing problem. According to Broadband Now, a data-crunching website dedicated to helping consumers find and compare internet service providers in their area, 90 percent of Minnesotans have access to broadband service, but 17 percent of the state is underserved. It ranks Minnesota as the 26th most connected state. That’s the middle of the broadband pack.
Access has run 15 percent to 20 percent higher in urban areas compared to rural.