The Governor has issued an executive order to continue the Broadband Task Force. It’s so new that it seems the applications are available yet – but they should be soon and I will post again as soon as I hear anything. I encourage people to start thinking about the opportunity….
I, Tim Walz, Governor of the State of Minnesota, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and applicable statutes, issue the following Executive Order:
The State has a strong public interest in the continued deployment and use of broadband services to meet the needs for all Minnesota communities, including economic development, healthcare, education, manufacturing, agriculture, public safety, and participation in government and society.
The State adopted broadband goals under Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 237.012. The goal for universal access and high-speed provides that, “it is a state goal that no later than 2022, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least three megabits per second,” and “no later than 2026, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.”
The State created the Office of Broadband Development housed in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (“DEED”) with the responsibilities outlined in Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 116J.39. The State created the Border to Border Broadband Development Grant Program under Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 116J.395. The State has mandated the continued collection of broadband deployment mapping data under Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 116J.397. These activities have been informed by the deliberations and recommendations from previous broadband task forces appointed by the Governor to advise on such matters.
A multi-stakeholder body should to continue to advise the executive and legislative branches on broadband policy, including strategies for successfully achieving the state broadband goals, comprehensive assessment of digital inclusion issues and gaps, and strategies for unlocking the benefits of universal access to broadband for all communities in Minnesota.
For these reasons, I order that:
- The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (“Task Force”), created under Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 15.0593, will continue to research, recommend, and promote state broadband policy, planning, and initiatives that address state broadband needs and goals.
- The Task Force consists of fifteen members who are appointed by the Governor and have experience or interest in broadband matters. The members must represent a balance of broadband interests, including: residential and business consumers, local governments, libraries, K-12 and higher education institutions, tribal interests, healthcare, broadband providers, economic development, agriculture, rural development, workforce development, and labor interests.
- The Governor will designate a member to serve as Chair of the Task Force. The Task Force must meet at least ten times per year. The Office of Broadband Development at the DEED will provide logistical and administrative support to the Task Force. The Task Force must engage key broadband stakeholders as advisors in its deliberations.
- The Task Force will create an annual report (“Report”) due no later than December 31 each year which includes an inventory and assessment of:
- The needs, barriers, issues, and goals for broadband access;
- The needs and use of broadband in Minnesota’s education systems, health care system, agriculture and energy sectors, industries and businesses, libraries, governmental operations, federally designated tribal nations, public safety, and other key economic sectors;
- Digital inclusion definitions, along with benefits, needs, and strategies for addressing identified gaps;
- Broadband availability and accessibility for unserved and underserved populations;
- Advances in technologies used to deploy services;
- Opportunities to coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies; and
- A review of the continued adequacy and appropriateness of the existing statutory broadband goals.
- The Report must also include updated recommendations on state-level actions identified during the year to aid and assist in the deployment and adoption of broadband in Minnesota.
- The Task Force may identify or prepare technical or white papers on top priority issues concerning broadband in Minnesota.
- DEED will provide staffing and administrative support to the Task Force.
- Executive Order 11-27 is rescinded.
This Executive Order is effective fifteen days after publication in the State Register and filing with the Secretary of State. It will remain in effect until rescinded by proper authority or until it expires in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 4.035, subdivision 3.
Signed on March 29, 2019.