MinnPost looks at Legislature’s impact on rural areas. Here’s what they said about broadband…
Minnesota legislators this year tried to address many of the issues facing Greater Minnesota, from farming pollution to broadband access, meat processing capacity and lack of child care. Here’s a look at some of the policy and spending proposals with outsized impact outside of the seven-county Twin Cities metro area that did — or didn’t — get through the majority-Democrat House and the Republican-led Senate this year.
Broadband grant program
State broadband officials recommended $120 million in new spending on high-speed internet infrastructure in Minnesota over the next two years. Lawmakers eventually voted for $70 million, which is still the largest one-time infusion of cash into Minnesota’s grant program. The $70 million was paid for by the federal stimulus plan approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year. It’s still not enough money to completely close Minnesota’s longstanding disparities in internet access.
They don’t do into greater detail but the fact that it isn’t state money is a flag because it means that federal rules may apply, which means lower speed goals and other factors. Also it puts broadband off a budget line item in a way and I never think that’s such a good thing. On the other hand, it’s nice to use federal funds where we can.