Senator Smith talks about broadband in Granite Falls and Montevideo

Montevideo American News reports on recent meetings in Granite Falls and Montevideo (Chippewa, Renville, and Yellow Medicine Counties)…

On Wednesday October 9, Senator Tina Smith hosted a roundtable discussion in Granite Falls with local leaders and rural community advocates in an attempt to get to the root of rural needs in the broadband game.

The Senator opened the meeting ” I am so thankful you ALL are here this morning, I am here to check in with you”. Smith, who introduced the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands Act (RURAL Act) aiding cooperatives impacted by new tax codes in keeping their ability to get broadband implementation grants without affecting their tax-exempt status said, “I want to understand better how I and the federal government can be a good partner with you as we work to expand broadband in small towns and rural areas”.

Smith detailed her understanding of the negative impacts of insufficient or nonexistent broadband access “If you don’t have access to broadband you can’t get your homework done, you can’t work remotely for your job, your healthcare systems don’t work, you have trouble recruiting people into your community.” Her focus as of late is combating and correcting false data on where broadband actually exists. “We have a federal government pushing out a significant amount of money but sometimes it’s pushing out that money based on maps that are not at all accurate about where there is coverage, or there is coverage but it’s pitiful. It’s a few drops of water coming out of a pipe. It doesn’t begin to meet the needs of the community” . The Senator was quick to point out that even though Minnesota broadband coverage maps makes it appear most households are serviced “there are still 145,000 households that don’t have it, that doesn’t even count the households sitting at the end of the pipe with a few drops, not able to do what they need to do.” Participants went around the table, taking two minutes each to detail there broadband access concerns and interests.

This entry was posted in Conferences, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s