An update from the MN Broadband Coalition…
The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition sent a letter to legislative leadership today asking them to use $15 million from the projected $641 million budget surplus to fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program in FY 2021.
And here’s the content of the letter…
To: The Honorable Governor Tim Walz
The Honorable Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman
Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
From: Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition
2401 Broadway Ave #1
Slayton, MN 56172
December 9, 2020
On behalf of our more than 100 coalition members, the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition urges you to use $15
million from the projected $641 million budget surplus to fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant
Program in FY 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it crystal clear that every Minnesotan needs access to
broadband internet. Yet, we know that up to 20% of rural Minnesotans still don’t have access to even the bare minimum speeds necessary to work or learn from home.
We are thankful you provided the broadband grant program with $40 million during the last budget session in 2019.
Dozens of projects will receive funding because of your prudent investment. However, we know there are shovel-ready projects waiting for funding—the Office of Broadband Development consistently receives more project applications than it can fund. An additional $15 million investment by the Legislature right now would help close the funding gap and means at least $15 million in matching funds from internet service providers, communities, and stakeholders.
The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need for true border-to-border broadband coverage. There are proven
economic benefits to reliable, high-speed broadband across all sectors of our economy: education, agriculture, main
street businesses, manufacturing, and health care. Again, we strongly urge you to include funding for the grant program in any supplemental spending package you may consider during the Special Session beginning on December 14, 2020.
Chair, Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition
CC: Sen. Torrey Westrom, Sen. Julie Rose