From the MN Broadband Coalition…
The Governor’s Broadband Task Force met today to conduct a walkthrough of a draft of their annual report to the Minnesota State Legislature. The Task Force voted unanimously to approve their report, pending technical edits.
The Task Force is recommending:
- $120 million per biennium for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program in DEED’s base budget. This funding figure was based on estimated cost to deploy service in areas that do not have access to the 2022 speed goal of 25mbps download by 3mbps upload.
- All future expenditures by the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program must be spent on projects that meet the 2026 speed goal of 100/20.
- $700,000 for the Office of Broadband Development per biennium for staffing and program oversight.
- The Task Force should review state speed goals in 2021 and consider a new symmetrical state speed goal of 100/100 by 2028.
- Operating annual fund of $1.5 million to the Office of Broadband to address challenges to broadband access.
- Develop strategy to improve communications between agencies and private ISPs to eliminate or minimize disruptions in service as well as consider a plan to connect more challenging rural locations of Minnesota.
The Coalition initially recommended “at least $70 million in ongoing funding” for the state grant program and is currently reviewing the Task Force’s $120 million recommendation. We will update you with any recommended changes to the Coalition’s 2021 Legislative Platform if the committee concurs with the Task Force.