The MN Spokesman Recorder talks to Senator Smith about federal funds for broadband

The MN Spokesman Recorder asked Senator Smith about the new infrastructure bill…

How does this bill differ from Build Back Better plan?

The Infrastructure Bill is gonna be a big deal for our state… It includes historic investments in transportation and in broadband, including in transit.

What that means for Minnesota is billions of dollars that will come to help us improve and repair our road system. And it’ll mean dollars for, I’m sure now, transit, which is so important for getting people out to their work, into their jobs, and getting around their community, and much-needed investment.

And I might just highlight the stuff, the work that we’ll be doing in broadband, to expand broadband, including helping to make broadband more affordable. There is a special program called the Digital Equity Act, which will end digital redlining, which is a real problem for poorer communities, marginalized communities when we find that the big cable companies just don’t serve them at the same level as they serve other communities.

More details on how funding will help…

When it comes to broadband, people think a lot about how there are real gaps in connectivity for people living in rural communities. But I know from my many conversations that there are many, many folks that live in the central cities who can’t afford the broadband connection because it’s too expensive, or because they lack access to tablets for example or laptop computers.

How will broadband money get distributed…

When it comes to broadband, we actually have a good program in Minnesota to distribute broadband dollars in partnership with local for-profit providers. I would expect that in Minnesota, it’ll be up to the governor. But I would expect that the governor would use his border-to-border broadband program to distribute those dollars because it’s a way of accessing help that communities are already used to.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

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

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