Faribault Daily News reports…
The Minnesota Office of Broadband Development estimates that about 90 percent of rural Minnesota households have access to non-mobile broadband (an internet connection other than that from a cell phone). State Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake, who represents Northfield, Le Sueur County and surrounding areas, has drafted bills this session to continue efforts to combat the problem.
“It’s a pretty bipartisan issue,” he said. “There is a little disconnect between metro and outstate, but overall it’s bipartisan.”
One of Draheim’s bills, a proposal to fund the Border to Border Broadband program with an additional $35 million, he expects to pass through the Legislature. He doesn’t expect a second bill, which would initiate a pilot program to expand satellite broadband, to pass.
He said the Office of Broadband Development is pretty much maxed out with what it can do at $35 million per year. The Border to Border program helps extend wireline broadband to households throughout the state. That involves a physical connection to residences and businesses via fiber optic cable. The state office estimates about 80 percent of rural households have access to wireline broadband.