Standing outside the Nobles County, Minn., Government Center on the afternoon of July 3 with city and county officials, Sen. Amy Klobuchar discussed her proposed legislation that would invest $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities across the country.
Klobuchar, who co-chairs the Senate Broadband Caucus, introduced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act on July 1. In the House of Representatives, the legislation is being led by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat.
They spoke about many reason for needing better broadband…
In rural Minnesota, Klobuchar said Friday, it’s critical that the ag sector has access to high-speed internet.
“With modern-day farming, you’ve got to have access,” Klobuchar said. “I remember when we had avian flu, one of the companies actually put in its own broadband so they could monitor temperature for their turkeys growing.
“These are the kinds of things that are going on all the time. But to me it’s not really separate from the pandemic, because we know it was an issue before the pandemic for students.”
Klobuchar cited statistics that reveal 16 percent of rural households in Minnesota currently don’t have high-speed internet. That translates to about 140,000 households.
“For Worthington at the start of the pandemic … 500 of 3,500 students didn’t have internet access,” she said, explaining that those numbers were eventually cut in half thanks to the efforts of local internet providers.
Metz, who serves on the Lismore Cooperative Telephone Co. board of directors, expressed hope that the bill would provide much-needed funding for infrastructure while also providing a boost for local telecommunications companies.
“That’s why we did this bill,” Klobuchar responded.