In a letter to the editor in Litchfield Independent Review, Senator Smith says…
When the U.S. Senate passed a once-in-a-generation bill to make historic and long-overdue investments in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure this month, we achieved something that has eluded our nation’s lawmakers for decades.
The strongly-bipartisan measure will mean people in Minnesota and across the country will soon see a transformative injection of funds to fix roads, bridges, highways, water systems, railroads, ports, and electric grids. It also provides $65 billion to bring quality, affordable broadband networks to communities – especially those in rural America – that for too long have struggled to thrive without modern high-speed internet.
Details on broadband…
When I first came to the Senate, a top priority of mine was to increase access to broadband. It isn’t just nice to have, it’s a 21st Century necessity for communities working to attract families and businesses, and to create jobs and economic development. Broadband connects students to a top-notch education, and allows health facilities to provide much-needed, often life-saving services, like telehealth. The current pandemic has showed us just how important quality broadband is for people working from home, and for students learning remotely.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many stories of Minnesota parents forced drive to a fast food parking lot in order access a connection good enough to allow their children to do their homework. And even the most well-run businesses struggle to compete — and connect with customers — without quality broadband.
The infrastructure bill changes that. Minnesota will receive a minimum of $100 million, which will significantly boost our state’s effort to connect its 157,000 households currently without service. It also ensures that new broadband services are affordable and that any new systems provide quality connections, so that users –especially those in rural areas — aren’t stuck with sub-par or second class service.