Broadband at Senate Committee on Ag, Rural Dev, and Housing Finance Notes & Video

Today the MN Senate Committee on Ag, Rural Development, and Housing Finance heard about broadband. The Committee heard from Angie Dickison and Diane Wells from the Office of Broadband Development on the details of the Office, the grants and progress toward the state broadband speeds for 2022 and 2026. Then Senator Draheim introduced HF3049, recommending one time $30 million additional funds for the broadband grant program.

Finally the Committee heard  from Jane Leonard, Dan Larson and Brent Christensen in supportive of the bill. NO one voices any concerns and the bill way laid over for possible conclusion in the omnibus.

The video also include Senator Westrom on the Rural Finance Authority.

Broadband Overview from Minnesota Office of Broadband Development

– Angie Dickison, Broadband Development Manager
– Diane Wells, Telecommunications Manager

Here is the 4 element approach to the #MNBroadband model:

  • Statutory goals
  • Data (mapping program)
  • Broadband Office & Task Force
  • Grants

The Office of Development does more than grants. They coordinate and number of efforts to expand broadband.

Broadband mapping: We have snapshots of where we stand today. We can see improvement toward the 2022 speed goals. We can also see counties that need more progress – where less than 50 percent of households have access to 25/3. We also see the maps for 2026 – we have some counties that are there, more are not.

496 citi es where 25 percent of more have fiber.
62 cities with more than 50 percent lacking access to 25/ 3

How does federal funding impact state funding? We have a map of these areas. We have had some projects that have combined funds to bring higher speeds to those federal funded areas.

Senator Draheim: introduces: S.F. 3049: Broadband development grant program annual statutory appropriation establishment.

Asking for additional resources ($30 million) from general fund to supplement the #mnbroadbnad grant. Businesses, farmers, telehealth and online entertainment need better broadband to reach the 9 percent unserved areas.

Jane Leonard speaking for MN Broadband Coalition:
Thanks to everyone for their interest and attention. I’ve worked with broadband since out aim for a 56k in each community. More recently have worked with the Office of Broadband Development. Investment in broadband will touch every sector. IN 2018, the broadband Task Force recommended $70M per biennium – this increase of $30M will get us there.

Dan Larson for Rural Counties:
Here to support SF3049 and thank the Legislature for supporting it. Broadband is essential for rural communities

Brent Christensen MN Telecom Alliance:
If this bill passes and is signed into law, it does not mean we’re done but it gets us closer. We won’t need support forever, but we will need it for a while. The last people getting broadband will be the most expensive. We have 5 years of evidence indicating that this program works.

Laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus

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