It an editorial, Mankato Free Press says…
Geography and zip code should not determine the knowledge economy in Minnesota. So the Minnesota Legislature needs to get full-speed behind proposals to expand broadband coverage throughout the state.
Broadband expansion shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but even though broadband funding proposals overwhelmingly help the greater Minnesota areas that Republicans represent, the GOP has in the past been willing to offer far less funding in this area than Democrats.
The Walz administration has proposed $70 million in broadband grants, with $35 million each allocated in 2020 and 2021. Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake, has proposed broadband funding of $35 million in 2020.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said the Senate GOP supports more broadband funding but has not decided on an amount.
We see the $70 million proposal by the Walz administration as a merely adequate level for now. Remember, former Gov. Mark Dayton’s nonpartisan broadband task force recommended funding of $200 million in 2016 to bring broadband averages up to 25 megabits per second downloads and 2 Mbsp uploads.