Scandia subordinate service district authorized for broadband service (HF1657) introduced in MN House

On the surface this is a bill about Scandia – one of the few places in the Twin Cities and certainly in Washington County without broadband. On a broader level, it’s a creative way for a community to provide services (such as broadband) to parts of their community and to only charge the users of that service – through a Subordinate Service Districts. You can learn more about them on the MN Legislature site.

Brief notes and handouts from the meeting:

Scandia – Washington County is 98 percent served. Scandia residents make up most of the remaining 2 percent. The city has looked at options. We surveyed user and it’s one of our major users. FTTH is estimated at $13 million. The residents will have to pay for a portion of this cost.

If we bond we have to charge everyone and that wouldn’t be fair to those who have access already. So we want to create a subordinate service

25 percent of homeowners need to sign on to establish the

Move to general register.

Bill to support coworking space in rural MN (HF2419) is introduced

Today HF2419 was introduced at Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division Committee. It’s a bill for a $50,000 matching grant for a coworking space. It’s about creating a technology hub in a community. It was moved over to Ways and Means.

The goal is to provide funding to support coworking spaces in rural Minnesota. You can see the video of the brief discussion…

And/or read my brief notes… Continue reading

MN looks at $70 million for broadband grants in rural areas

Finance & Commerce reports…

After a five-year effort to bring broadband internet to rural Minnesota, state leaders believe the finish line is in sight.

Under Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed budget, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development would spend $35 million in both 2020 and 2021 to support the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. That $70 million will put the state on track to hit a statutory goal of extending broadband to all Minnesotans by 2022, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said Wednesday.

“The numbers we put against this are built on a history of knowing what the program requires to be successful,” Grove said in a conference call with reporters. “We feel like that $70 million total investment is a smart and well-informed estimate to get us on the path to meeting those goals.”

They look at local research on the subject…

Better internet not only increases access to Netflix and other entertainment options, but also benefits economies and communities in tangible ways. A study by the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation looked at five counties that upgraded broadband infrastructure and found that in four of them, the collective economic benefit for households will exceed the amount of public investment in less than two years. High-speed internet is also increasingly important in education and health care, especially in rural areas.

And recognize broad support for the bill…

Although Walz’s broader budget proposal has met vocal objections from many legislators, Grove said the broadband proposal has so far received largely positive responses. In fact, Republican Rep. Sandy Layman has amended the bill to tack on an additional $15 million for the 2019 fiscal year. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, while not taking a stance on the specific level of allocation, wrote to legislators last week urging them to support funding for the program.

Update on Broadband Bills in MN Legislature from

It’s a concise update from JD Supra

This week, the House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division heard HF 7, one of the first bills introduced this session. As introduced, HF 7, authored by Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls), appropriates $35 million in fiscal year 2020 and $35 million in fiscal year 2021 from the general fund to the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to deposit in the Border-to-Border Broadband fund account.

During the meeting, the committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset) appropriating an additional $15 million to be made available the day after HF 7’s final enactment, totaling a $85 million investment through 2021 to subsidize the development of broadband coverage throughout greater Minnesota. These appropriations will be used to accomplish the state’s statutory broadband goals. By 2022, it is a state goal to provide access to high-speed broadband with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least three megabits per second to all Minnesota homes and businesses, aiming to place Minnesota in the top five states for broadband access.

Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED, said HF 7 is a “critical, foundational piece” for the state because it ensures all Minnesotans, not just those in the metro area, have the ability to succeed. All testifiers advocated for the passage of the bill, indicating the indispensability of high-speed internet for businesses in rural areas to flourish and compete with their metropolitan counterparts. One testifier indicated broadband access is especially important for rural residents because a number of them access their doctor via webcam, saving them from driving hundreds of miles to the nearest hospital.

HF 7 was passed on a voice vote and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Its companion bill in the Senate is SF 9, authored by Sen. Mark Koran (R-North Branch).

International Conference on Business Incubation in Mpls April 13-17

Looks like an interesting conference…

InBIA’s International Conference on Business Incubation (ICBI) unites a global community of entrepreneurial ecosystem thought leaders who oversee business incubators, accelerators, and other types of entrepreneurship centers that drive regional economic development. Attendees come to connect with InBIA’s global community, share ideas to further the entrepreneurial movement, gather new tools and strategies for their programs, collaborate with peers from around the world, evaluate service providers and strategic partners, and have fun!

ICBI will feature a showcase of services and products to make the job of supporting entrepreneurs easier. The event provides many opportunities for interaction, including:

Innovative plenary activities

Many times and spaces for creating valuable connections

It will be a good opportunity to show off Minneapolis, meet some folks and learn about building business.

Broadband comes up in two bills in MN House committees March 21

On Thursday March 21 the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division will hear about the Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 8:00 AM
Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division
Chair: Rep. Tim Mahoney
Location: 200 State Office Building


HF 1693 (Noor) Goodwill Easter Seals funding provided

HF 1505 (Dehn) Summit Academy OIC GED and employment program

HF 1168 (Christensen) 180 Degrees grant

HF 1464 (Lippert) Youthprise Opportunity Reboot initiative grant

HF 2419 (Robbins) Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program.

If you would like to testify, please contact Travis Reese at (651) 296-7175 or

Learn more about the Bill: HF2419 (Robbins)
Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program funding provided, reports required, and money appropriated.

Then at 9:45 Government Operations will hear about the creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 9:45 AM
Government Operations
Chair: Rep. Mike Freiberg
Location: Basement Hearing RoomAgenda:

HF2550 (Mariani)
Security screening systems added to ionizing radiation-producing equipment, jail inmate transfer provisions modified, administrative and disciplinary segregation use guidelines established, criminal gang investigative data retention extended, local correctional officers discipline procedures act established, ombudsman for corrections reestablished, reports requires, money appropriated, and various other provisions modified or established.

HF2229 (Wolgamott)
Town officer terms modified.

HF132 (Masin)
Local governments impacted by new information technology business software involvement required in user acceptance testing.

HF823 (Nelson)
Private consultants hiring process established.

HF1657 (Dettmer)
Scandia; creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

Learn more: HF1657 (Dettmer)
Scandia; creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

MN Broadband Day on the Hill Schedule for April 3

From the MN Broadband Coalition newsletter…

We can now share more details with you about the MN Broadband Coalition’s 2019 Day on the Hill Schedule We have invited Gov. Tim Walz and are hopeful he will be able to kick-off our day. We are excited to announce DEED Commissioner Steve Grove will be joining us in the morning! Here is the schedule we have so far—subject to change.

April 3, 2019 – L’Etoile du Nord Vault, MN State Capitol

  • 8:15am – 8:45am Registration, networking, refreshments
  • 8:45 am Welcome, Legislative Update
  • 9:00am Governor Tim Walz (Invited)
  • 9:15am DEED Commissioner Steve Grove
  • 9:30am-11:00am Legislative Leadership – Invited

We are excited to have scheduled House and Senate leadership to join us!
Schedule will be fluid depending on the day’s legislative schedule

  • House Speaker Melissa Hortman
  • House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
  • Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
  • Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk
  • HF 7/SF 9 Authors Rep. Rob Ecklund and Sen. Mark Koran
  • 11:00am-11:30am Optional: Advocacy Tips and Q&A with the Office of Broadband
  • 11:00am Legislative Meetings in MN Senate Bldg and State Office Bldg
  • 12:00-1:00pm Box lunches available in L’Etoile du Nord Vault

2:00pm Coffee and refreshments Wrap-Up in L’Etoile du Nord Vault