Candidate Bloomberg visits Wells MN – mentions investing in broadband

Duluth News Tribune reports…

Former New York City mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg ventured into rural Minnesota on a campaign stop to discuss the issues pressing rural America’s farmers.

Apparently broadband was one hot topic…

According to a Tuesday news release from Bloomberg’s campaign, Wells was one of three campaign stops Bloomberg made on Wednesday, in addition to Chicago and Akron, Ohio. He aimed to tout his economic proposal, which he says will “bring more opportunities to people and places that have been shortchanged by Donald Trump,” both rural and urban, by increasing the minimum wage, prioritizing training and education and investing in rural broadband.

Michelle Lee running to represent District 11 – broadband is one reason

Local campaigns are starting and it’s nice to see broadband make the short list of topics important enough to be mentioned at the onset. Pine City Pioneer reports…

Michelle Lee has formally announced her campaign to represent  District 11 in the Minnesota  Senate. The Moose Lake resident will seek the DFL endorsement at the district convention in March.

Lee told supporters and attendees of the HD-11A Homegrown Harvest Dinner Fundraiser as long as the Minnesota Senate is controlled by Republicans, access to quality healthcare, first class education and  training of our future workforce, the expansion of broadband and attention to the critical needs of our infrastructure in Greater Minnesota are in jeopardy.

Democratic candidates’ take on broadband plan – and IIA’s view to 5G

Next Gov recently ran a letter to the editor from Bruce Mehlman, founding co-chairman of Internet Innovation Alliance. It gives a quick synopsis on how Democtractic candidates are leaning in regards to broadband…

In a very crowded Democratic primary—October’s presidential primary debate was the largest in American history—the issue of broadband access is popping up with great (and welcome) frequency. With this month’s debate fast-approaching on Nov. 20, candidates are continuing to try to distinguish themselves and, as often happens in campaigns, there’s a bidding war going on.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, has proposed spending $20 billion on broadband access; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren quadruples that with a proposal for $85 billion. Not to be outdone, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to spend $150 billion on broadband deployment (as former Sen. Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money”).  Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants to connect every house to the internet by 2022 as part of a $1 trillion plan to improve the country’s infrastructure. …

Mayor Pete Buttigieg favors a “public option” for broadband in areas “[w]here companies have not provided coverage or where it is unaffordable”, with a total cost of about $80 billion.

Mehlman’s not very positive of most of their plans in short because he seems to prefer a provider-focused plan and his focus seems to be on 5G…

If the private sector does not have the right incentives to invest in broadband deployments, how can it invest the tens, even hundreds, of billions each year that will be necessary for the full deployment of 5G wireless technology? Without those investments, we cannot make the next leaps in connectivity and security—things like truly connected cars, the internet of things, and other innovations that will improve our daily lives even more radically than in the past decade. If the dollars do not come from the private sector, we can expect presidential candidates in 2024 or 2028 to call for trillions in government investments, while bemoaning our national failure to keep up with Chinese 5G investments that are happening today.

Worse, some of the Democratic candidates’ proposals would permit this spending only for certain types of groups—not private-sector network operators who have delivered broadband across the country for the past 20 years … but instead only for local governments, nonprofits, and cooperative organizations. Some candidates explicitly favor government-funded networks to the exclusion of private players.

He has a solution…

Fortunately, there is a better way: Encourage private sector investments and then target federal funding to areas that, principally for reasons of geography, are difficult to serve. There is no need to reinvent the wheel—or to shift broadband to government-owned-and-operated networks—for everyone to enjoy fast broadband service across the country.

But the focus on 5G gives me pause to question how highly he has prioritized rural America in his plan.

Democratic candidate Holmstrom-Sabo for MN’s 8th District promotes broadband

Bemidji Pioneer reports…

For Marjorie “Marje” Holmstrom-Sabo, who announced her candidacy for the Demoratic nomination in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District Monday, Oct. 7, politics had long been a passion — though not a tangible goal, at least not for years down the road.

Broadband came up as a hot topic…

She also pointed to pushing affordable and accessible health care in the face of insurance consolidation, hospital closures and skyrocketing prescription costs. Rural broadband and the interconnected issue of boosting rural education serve as a third main pillar, she said.

Senator Klobuchar supports rural broadband with Dig Once and better mapping

Faribault Daily News posts a letter from Senator Amy Klobuchar. She talks about the benefits of broadband, especially for rural areas based on recent visits from her staff to Bemidji, Walker, Wadena, Aitkin, Brainerd and Mora

I’ve heard from people across our state about how access to broadband is changing their lives and making their jobs easier. For example, farmers have told me they are excited about how advances in precision agriculture—like technology that can detect the level of moisture in the soil— can help them save money, increase yields, and protect the environment. And tractors can now use wireless broadband to send data directly back to the farm, allowing farmers to better manage their operations.

We have also seen advancements in telehealth technology that can help connect rural communities around the state to health care providers hundreds of miles away. Doctors can monitor the fetal heart rate and the weight and blood pressure of low-risk expectant moms remotely without having them drive to a clinic. Remote monitoring can also link specialists to patients and doctors in rural areas to provide real time consultations from the other side of the state.

And talks about plans to help make that happen…

I’ve always believed that when we invest in our infrastructure, including improved access to broadband, we invest in opportunity for every American. If we do this right, we can bridge the rural and urban divide that’s damaging our country and hurting our economy. That’s why I sponsored legislation to make broadband deployment easier by requiring coordination between states and federal agencies when highway projects are built so that broadband infrastructure is installed at the same time. In other words, agencies only “dig once” and lay the groundwork for broadband when building or expanding roads. A provision based on my bill was signed into law last year. “Dig once” policies help streamline broadband deployment and reduce the costs of building new broadband infrastructure while also helping expand wireless coverage in our rural areas.

As we work to bring high-speed internet to communities across the country, it’s critical that we have a clear and accurate understanding of where broadband is available and where it is not. While the Federal Communication Commission collects this information and provides maps that display broadband availability, these maps significantly overstate coverage in many rural areas. That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation – the Broadband DATA Act — with Senators Wicker, Thune, and Peters, to collect more precise data so that broadband deployment funds will go where they are needed most. This bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee in July, and I am working to quickly get it signed into law.

Iron Range Rep Ecklund positive about future state broadband funding

The Mesabi Daily News reports on the impact of the elections on the Iron Range…

Three of the Iron Range districts in the Minnesota House will be in the majority come January after Democrats flipped 18 seats in the chamber for a seven-seat advantage.

The Senate remains Republican controlled by one vote, setting up the only split Legislature in the nation, alongside DFL Gov. Tim Walz.

Tuesday’s midterm election produced DFL winners in Dave Lislegard (House 6B), Julie Sandstede (House 6A) and Rob Ecklund (House 3A). Republican Sandy Layman won re-election in House 5B.

And some optimism on broadband funding in the legislature…

Ecklund said he believes the House changing will positively impact the 3A district.

“I think we’ll see some serious money going into rural broadband,” Ecklund told the Ely Echo. “It will be good for all of northeastern Minnesota and all of rural Minnesota. I look at broadband as a utility.”

Letter to editor support Grabowska in 23B

The Mankato Free Press ran a letter to the editor in support of Jim Grabowska, who is running for State Representative in 23B…

In 2018, broadband internet isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity for anyone who wants to compete in the market, stay connected to their social groups or get a quality education. The market forces are insufficient to fill in the gaps in our rural broadband network and for decades now rural Minnesotans have been left behind. If we want to keep our rural communities strong and flourishing, it’s crucial that we make comprehensive broadband a priority at the Legislature.

That’s why I’m voting for Jim Grabowska for the Minnesota House on Tuesday. Grabowska is lifelong educator who understands that the modern world moves at the speed of information. I know he will be an advocate to close the rural broadband gaps and to keep our towns, markets and families strong.