The MN Rural Broadband Coalition met this morning to finalize their 2022 legislative platform and go over some business. The discussion was good. It’s interesting to see how coalition is created with groups that have overlapping but not exacting priorities.
If you aren’t a member of the Coalition and you care about making sure that broadband stays front of mind for legislators, especially as federal funding pours into the state, you should consider joining.
Thank you to those who participated in the Coalition’s meeting today and for your input on our 2022 Legislative Platform. We are pleased to send along the final version of this document.
Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition 2022 Legislative Platform
- Support legislation that allocates $70 million from the General Fund to fulfill the fiscal obligation in the 2022-2023 biennial budget for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program. Without this action, the State risks losing out on the 2nd construction season of the biennium. It is understood that federal funding is forthcoming and would be used to reimburse the General Fund.
- Support the Office of Broadband Development applying for the state’s full Capital Projects Fund allocation ($180 million) from U.S. Treasury through administrative action or, if necessary, lead on an effort to move a bill through the Legislature for this purpose.
- Support agency and other legislative efforts to bridge the digital divide by increasing digital equity, affordability, and adoption, including the use of federal infrastructure funds and the Capital Projects Fund for these purposes.
- Support state’s ability to invest in broadband infrastructure despite pending or otherwise uncommitted federal funds. In situations where final federal decisions have not been made (e.g., RDOF preliminary auction award areas), the Office of Broadband Development shall allow applications from those areas and those projects shall not be excluded from awards.
- Participate in conversations involving emerging technologies and their role in meeting the state’s 2022 and 2026 statutory speed goals. Oppose blanket statutory broadband definition changes and oppose funding carveouts for any specific broadband technology.
- Support efforts by state agency or other legislative initiatives to increase the quality of state broadband maps.