MN Broadband Task Force Jan 2020: supporting a $30 million request from Legislature

The full notes and video are below. I think a highlight from the meet was the presentation from the Minnesota Broadband Coalition. They have asked the Task Force to send a letter to the Legislature supporting their recommendation for $30 million from the supplemental budget for more grants.

Also the Task Force formed three subgroups:

  • MN Model
  • Barrier to Technology
  • Economic Development and Digital Inclusion

Introduction from Dale – works with online mental health tools.

Goals/Topics for the Task Force:

  1. Grants
    1. Funding
    2. Challenges
    3. Issues Suggestions
    4. Changes
  2. Mapping
  3. Speed Goals
  4. Broadband Barriers
  5. Working with Providers
  6. Workforce training
  7. Types of broadband
  8. Economic development
  9. Digital literacy
  10. MN Model
  11. Cybersecurity

Shall we take cybersecurity off the list? There already is a group looking at that issue. They will have a report this summer and maybe they can come in to talk to us.

Speed goals?

10G is coming but it’s 3-5 years away. Maybe we need to stick with 25/3 because even with that goal we have more grant applications that we can feel. Mediacom needs to invest the money.

The goals gives the legislature something to look at. We know the demand.

We need to talk about it. We need to be in step with the rest of the world.

DO we need to look at a refresh of time as we approach 2022. Are aspirational goals useful?

BUT every funding grant except one was Gig. We can’t set up a situation where there’s such a divide between rural and urban.

Goals gets grouped into the following groups (subcommittees)

  • Grants
    • Steve
    • Brian
    • Mark (could move to speed goals)
    • Teresa (interested in mapping)
    • Paul
  • Speed Goals
    • Steve Giorgi
    • Rani
    • Nolan
  • Economic Development/Adoption
    • Shannon (would rather work on grants)
    • Mika
    • Bernadine
    • Dale

Small groups will meet. Need name for subgroup and who is chair (to report back to big group).

Where could we meet?

  • Comcast
  • NESC – Iron Range
  • The annual Blandin broadband conference (in fall)
  • East Central (Where there’s less than
  • Southeastern MN
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Midco


  • Justin Forde(?)
  • Arvig
  • Federal Perspective (FCC Chair, MN reps, Commissioner…)
  • Wes from Connected Nation
  • Brent Christensen MTA
  • CWA
  • AT&T
  • Tribal area
  • CTC
  • A gig city in MN
  • Paul Bunyan

DEED Update

Office of Broadband Development announced 2019 grants. There were 80 applications for $70 million and they funded 30 projects for $23 million. There were projects that were good but we ran out of funding. We need more funds.

Most projects were wireline. There were some fixed wireless projects but they weren’t funding; not because they were wireless but for other issues.

2018 broadband task for calculation to reach speed goals – factors impacting those numbers

  • The cost per passing may be outdated (average from first 3 grant rounds)
  • Need to update unserved locations (150,000 – according to providers. May be low.)
  • We have additional federal funds


MN Model

  • Chair – Shannon
  • How can we improve the model
  • Look at federal mapping and possible impact
  • How can we support the OBD

Barrier to Technology

  • Chair Marc & Dave
  • Examine speed goals – how is it mapped, reported and what does it mean?
  • Look at limitations of modes of broadband

Economic Development and Digital Inclusion

  • Chair – Bernadine
  • Look at challenges and benefits
  • What would equity mean for the State
  • Supportive of grant
  • What public policy could we use to encourage digital inclusion/equity


  • They talk with legislators
  • MN Broadband Coalition was conceived at the 2015 MN (Blandin) Broadband conference based on the vision created there: Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.
  • 90 members from all walks of the community
  • Broadband Day on the Hill will be March 12, 2020
  • The Blandin Foundation supports the Coalition but they are separate
  • Plan to ask legislature for $30 million this year
  • Like to focus on 2026 speed goals
  • Senator Draheim & Westrom and Rep Ecklund will draft the bill request for first day of Leg (Feb 11) the following committees will look at the issue:
  • Looked at some policy (challenge process and 50/50 match)
  • They want the Task Force to send a letter to the Governor & Legislature –

Should the Task Force send the Coalition letter?
Yes. Then some wordsmithing.

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