This morning the MN Broadband Task Force met to comb through a late draft of the annual report. It’s not the final draft, it may not be the penultimate but it’s getting close.
You can read the draft report and watch the discussion below. The video focused mostly on the text so it would probably be easier to listen and use the PDF version to follow along.
Some high level comments on discussion:
- There was discussion on the fourth recommendation related to permits and the OBD (Office of Broadband Development) working with partners. There was confusion more than disagreement. In the end I think the decision was to recommend a workgroup for public rights of way and look at greater oversight of railroad easements.
- There was also a lot of discussion on RDOF and CAF II and the opportunity they have to help or hinder the state in reaching state speed goals. Concerns are that the CAF funding is sunsetting and the speed goals required with CAF funding do not meet even the MN 2022 speed goals of 25/3. Concern with RDOF is the surprising result in Minnesota where one provider received a large percentage of the funding to provide services that they are not known for providing, which results in both concern whether that provider will meet scrutiny of the RDOF long-form application to actually get the funding and concern that if they do they will be able to deliver fiber as promised. Some folks felt that as it was federal funding, it fell out of the scope of the state task force while others were concerned on the impact the federal funding would have on state funding moving forward.
- There was also discussion on CARES funding with similar cases. Some thought it seemed beyond scope especially since State level CARES funding had not been dedicated to broadband. (Funding trickled down to counties and some did use it for broadband.) Others thought it might be helpful for legislators to see what other states did to improve broadband with CARES funding in case the opportunity arises again.