From the MN Rural Broadband Coalition…
The House and Senate passed their broadband funding bills this week, but each bill makes drastically different investments in the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. HF 2208, the House Jobs Omnibus Bill, passed the House floor 74-59 and contains $70 million for the grant program over the next two years. SF 2226, the Senate Agriculture Omnibus Bill, passed the Senate 43-24 but only contains $30 million in one-time funding for the grant program.
“The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition’s top priority this year has been full funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. The House proposal of $70 million does just that,” said Nancy Hoffman, Chair of the MN Rural Broadband Coalition. “Although we’re thankful the Senate has allocated $30 million, we believe one-time funding perpetuates the feast-famine cycle of uncertainty that has plagued the grant program since its inception. We can and should do more.”
The Governor’s Broadband Task Force released its annual report in 2018 and found that $70 million every two years is needed to meet the 2022 state speed goal of 25mbps download and 3mbps upload to every home and business. These funds will also keep us on track to meeting the state’s 2026 statutory speed goals of 100mbps download and 20mbps upload.
The Coalition looks forward to the House, Senate, and Governor working together to reach an agreement on broadband funding that will make sure the state meets its statutorily required speed goals and provide world class broadband to every person in the state.