MN House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee hears from Telecom folks

The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee heard from a number of broadband providers and Minnesota League of Cities. It’s a chance for the legislators to learn a little bit about the providers and the type of broadband. Folks talked about what policies would make their lives easier, the investments they had made in Minnesota and their roles in helping during the pandemic. It’s helpful for legislators and I suspect the testifiers become the go-to people for telecom information.

I always think the questions are the most interesting part – because of course I’m better acquainted with what the providers are doing than what the legislators are thinking. Folks asked about 5G, autonomous cars, 911 outages and Internet of Things.

[The permanent video is now in place. please note the link for the YouTube video will change once YouTube archives, the live video – while it’s the live (which will be most of Jan 20), you’ll have to “rewind” to the start of the meeting by moving the cursor that times the video to the left. Hard to guestimate how far to the left as the video gets longer each minute. I will change the link when the archive is available but that change might not happen immediately.]

The Committee heard from several testifier. You can watch above. And I have “tweetable” notes below, which means I Tweeted as I took notes so they are in that format:

Starting now! Commerce Finance and Policy Info on Telecom.

Speakers include:

  • – Brent Christensen, MN Telecom Alliance.
  • – Dana Bailey, Lumen.
  • – Patrick Fucik, TMobile.
  • – Paul Weirtz, AT&T.
  • – Daniel Lightfoot, League of Minnesota Cities.

*No formal action will be taken. 

Brent Christensen, MN Telecom Alliance.

  • -They put the “wire in wireless”
  • Regulated by MN PUC, Dep of COmmernce, Attorney General and FCC

Dana Bailey, Lumen

  • Formerly CenturyLink
  • POTS has been overshadowed by competition
  • Invested $200M in Broadband in MN
  • Wants to change 237.025

Patrick Fucik, TMobile.

  • Second largest wireless company
  • Goal to provide 97% of US with 5G low band in 3 years
  • Spectrum access makes it possible 80% of MN sites are 5G low band
  • Accelerated #COVID19 programs for students

Paul Weirtz, AT&T.

  • Traffic rose 20% in March (COVID)
  • $125B investment in wired/wireless service in 3 years
  • Launched 5G across MN in 2020
  • Committed to FirstNet

Daniel Lightfoot, League of Minnesota Cities

  • Works on rights of way for cities
  • Tries to allow tech growth AND city authority to manage and be compensated
  • Cord cutting puts PEG at risk


Q: What are the problems with 911 outages?
A: They are upgrading to digital 911 
A: There were outages with our network. Often issue with weather or equipment @lumentechco

“Networks are moving to IP – why would I need cable unless they are my broadband provider. Thanks and congrats to ramping up via COVID. There were issues with latency but that seems to be fix. IoT creates a drain on the network.” @EricLuceroMN

Q: How can we facilitate 5G? @BarbHaleyMN
A: Let us know city plans so we can react. Make it easy to get permits? @PaulWeirtz
A: Passing the 5G small cell legislation makes it easier. @FucikR

Q: Will there be conflicts with 5G cabinets and autonomous cars? @ElkinsForHouse
A: We are looking at it and we’re going to need open lines of communication. @DFLightfoot


This entry was posted in Conferences, MN, Policy, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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