MN Broadband Task Force April Mtg archive & video: Angie Craig, LTD Broadband & NCTA

Today the MN Broadband Task Force met. They heard from US Rep Angie Craig, LTD Broadband (big winner of federal broadband contract in MN) and NCTA (A cable association – or lots of cable folks on the board anyway.)

I took high level notes:

Update from the Legislature what are folks recommending broadband funding:

  • MN House: $60 million over two years
  • MN Senate: $40 million first year (will be discussed at Ways and Means Committee – Tuesday, April 6, 5:00pm – Remote Hearing by Zoom
  • MN Gov: still talking about $50 million

Update from Angie Craig:

  • “Broadband is not a luxury; it’s is essential 21st infrastructure. If you have broadband you can start a business from anywhere
  • What are challenges? Politics get in the way of good policy. How it gets paid for is a sticking point for infrastructure.
  • What are challenges? Politics get in the way of good policy. How broadband gets paid for is a sticking point for infrastructure – run deficit or long term investment? The problem is people think in 2-yr increments in DC
  • What do you think of fiber? We need to keep an open mind. We need accurate mapping. Just spoke with @fcc – we can invest in mapping and infrastructure.
  • “A danger for broadband support is that many people have signed no-new-taxes commitments. So while they may support broadband no-new-taxes takes priority. Corporate taxes went from 35 percent to 21 percent – we need to look at that.”

Update from LTD

  • The pandemic proved to them that consumers need symmetrical broadband – which is a change from what they said a few years ago.
  • Symmetrical or asymmetrical? COVID and Zoom have taught us that symmetrical matters. In my neighborhood we couldn’t get cable broadband 35Mbps up and that’s what we needed for all the zooms in my house.”
  • “Our fixed wireless #terragraph (mesh is being tested at Gig up and down. We are fans of hybrid; it makes sense to have more than one tool in the toolbox”
  • Q: “We are in an area that had been working on a #BordertoBrder grant but it was booted because of #RDOF.”
    A:”If you need help sooner, let us know. We can’t do it all at once but we can focus.”
  • “We are looking at deploying aerial fiber rather underground in areas like the Iron Range”

Info on networks during the pandemic from NCTA…

  • Chart shows much greater growth in upload than download traffic. Downstream is still greater than upstream but greatest growth is in upstream.
  • COVID-19 increased internet use by 70%, and streaming by more than 12%.
  • “Videoconferencing is less than 5 percent of overall traffic”

Subgroup Updates:

  1. Paul Wertz: Group did not meet since last meeting.  Fixed wireless panel coming up. Working on getting State Demographer
  2. Nolan Cauthen: Group did not meet since last meeting.
  3. Yvonne: Did meet. Working on speakers – such as ARC, Chris Mitchell, State Demographer.

Questions for the State Demographer:

  • Does broadband access impact other data – have they seen changes where broadband has improved?
  • Any stats on broadband access and local average age?

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