Both MN House and Senate ag and finance omnibus bills include $100 million for broadband

The League of Minnesota Cities reports

Both House and Senate omnibus agriculture policy and finance bills include $100 million in additional one-time general fund spending over the next biennium for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program that assists with broadband infrastructure deployment in hard-to-reach areas.

The House bill, HF 2278 (Rep. Samantha Vang, DFL-Brooklyn Center) as amended by a delete-all amendment (pdf) and the Senate bill, SF 1955 (Aric Putnam, DFL-St. Cloud) as amended by a delete-all amendment (pdf), include identical language that fully funds the Office of Broadband Development, provides additional resources for the grant program, and makes permanent the Low-Density Broadband Development Grant Program that was introduced as a pilot program last session.

Specific provisions in the bill regarding broadband include:

  • An additional $100 million in one-time funding over the next biennium for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.
    • Of the $100 million, $20 million is reserved each year of the biennium for the lower population density grant program.
  • Elimination of the pilot program for lower population density proposals and establishes in statute a permanent Lower-Density Broadband Development Grant Program that is eligible to fund awards up to 75% of the total project cost rather than 50% for normal border-to-border grants.

The League will continue to work with stakeholders, bill authors, and the conference committee to ensure this language remains in the final agreed upon agriculture omnibus bill.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, MN Broadband Fund Awards, Policy 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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