MN Broadband Task Force meeting: notes on the upcoming report

The MN Broadband Task Force spent the morning at the Blandin Foundation Broadband 2020 conference. They spent an extra hour after that meeting mostly discussing the upcoming broadband task force report that they have begun to write.

They showed an outline of the report and each subcommittee reported on their thoughts and work so far – including mention of the various recommendations. There is some agreement, some disagreement and a lot of overlap on the recommendations made by each of the three subcommittees:

  • Digital Inclusion
  • Minnesota Model
  • Barriers to Technology

The big agreement is to ask for more money for future grants. There wasn’t agreement, which may just reflect no discussion, on whether to recommend that for base funding or not.

A big disagreement is updating the speed goals. Some thought they should stay where they are because providers have already been working on grant projects based on those goals. Some thought that the 25/3 goal is realistically obsolete since the next potential round of funding they are seeking is 2022 and the 25/3 speed goal is “by 2022.” Some thought that 25/2 was adequate for one person at home but when you get to two kids in school and at least one parent working from home; those speeds did not suffice.

There are minimal talk about changing the 2026 goal of 100/20. The real focus for proponents is changing the upload speed. Some people pointed out that COVID has shown us that upload speeds matter most for productivity.

Also there was a lot of talk about how to talk about these recommendation to reach consensus. Many people seemed to think that if there was no consensus that they would leave it ASIS.

The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for November 10 – and apparently Governor Walz will be there.

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