Minnesota Broadband Task Force: Planning for 2016 & visits from legislators

The big news of the day was the release of the latest Minnesota Broadband Task Force report. They have recommended $100 million for broadband funding and speed goals of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up by 2022 and 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up by 2026.

Most of the meeting was spent making plans for 2016. The groups has segmented into three subgroups:

  • Affordability.
  • Emerging technology and issues (such as cyber security)
  • Accessibility

At the end of the meeting they heard from Senator Schmit, Representative Kresha and Representative Johnson. All are broadband proponents. Schmit is focused on funding the fund – maximizing the amount spent on broadband grants to $100 million. Kresha is interested in spending more money than last year (he has already proposed $35 million) but is really focused on telecom regulations. Johnson seemed surprised at the low speed recommendations. He also supports funding for broadband and looking at how to use state funding to leverage federal (CAF 2) funding.

Here are the full notes: Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband Task Force report is out: recommending 25/3 MB speeds and $200 million (over 2 years)

I am in a Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting as I post this but I wanted to get the latest report out…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Releases Annual Report

Report contains policy recommendations,
including $200 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program and updated speed goals

The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband released its 2016 Annual Report today, which includes recommendations for Governor Dayton, the legislature, and other policy makers to consider in the 2016 Legislative Session.

The recommendations outlined in the report are aimed at ensuring every Minnesotan has access to broadband, and include $200 million in funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grand Development Program and an update to the state’s outdated speed goals.

“The goal of the task force is that every home and business, border-to-border, should have access to high-speed broadband,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband. “Expanding broadband allows all businesses to compete in today’s global economy no matter where they are located in Minnesota, expands educational opportunities, and helps people stay in touch with health care providers to receive care and monitor their health conditions. These recommendations will move our state closer to our goal.”

The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, created by the Legislature in 2014 and initially funded at $20 million, provides funding to build the state’s broadband infrastructure and promote broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of the state. The grants provide up to a dollar-for-dollar match on funds, not to exceed $5 million for any one project, and are distributed to qualified entities.
Minnesota’s universal broadband access and speed goals, originally established in 2010, specified that by no later than 2015, “all state residents and businesses have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of ten to 20 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of five to ten megabits per second.” As of February 2015, 91.45 percent of Minnesota households had broadband access available at a speed of at least 10 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload, while 80.16 percent of rural Minnesota households had a broadband connection that meets these speeds*.

The task force’s new proposal would update the state’s speed goals to specify that all businesses and homes should have access to high-speed broadband services at a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second by 2022. These speeds are in alignment with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition of high-speed broadband.

Furthermore, the report recommends that by 2026, it is a state goal that all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.

Additional policy recommendations include:
• Increase telecommunications aid for schools and libraries
• Expand existing sales tax exemption for telecommunications equipment
• Reform regulations of Minnesota’s telecommunications industry
• Review existing permitting criteria to see where there might be opportunities for efficiencies
• Create an Office of Broadband operating fund to promote broadband adoption and use

The full report can be found here.
* These figures include broadband service provided by wired, fixed wireless and wireless technologies, as Minnesota statutes did not specify a technology.

Rock County Commissioner Jody Reisch joins the Minnesota Broadband Task Force

According to the Worthington Daily Globe

Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday announced the appointment of Jody Reisch, Luverne, to the Minnesota Broadband Task Force. Reisch currently serves on the Rock County Board of Commissioners.

His term on the broadband task force begins Tuesday and will remain in effect until Jan. 7, 2019. Reisch will replace Angela Dickison, of Duluth, on the task force.

 

Minnesota Broadband Task Force will recommend $200 million in funding and set new speed goal

Yesterday the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met to finalize their report and recommendations to the Governor. The recommendations are similar to last year. The two hot topics were – funding and speeds. They are recommending $200 million over  two years for broadband funding (same as last year) and the speed goal is:

Universal access and high speed goal: It is a state goal that as soon as possible, but no later than 2022, all Minnesota businesses, homes and institutions, including public schools, colleges and universities, have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. Also by 2026 all Minnesota businesses, homes and institutions will have access to at least one provider of broadband with speeds of at least 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

They worked through a draft that had been compiled/by staff. I will include a copy of the draft they used (so it’s not final – but a penultimate draft) and copy of the handouts from the day, which include some back and forth language, especially on the speed goals.

A lot of issues were pushed to next year’s report. Nothing is set in stone – there are a few open items yet but the draft was adopted by Task Force members. Below are notes and videos from the day. Continue reading

January MN Broadband Task Force Meeting: January 6

Mark your calendar for a sneak preview of the 2016 Minnesota broadband report at the Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting   …

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
January 6, 2016
DEED – James J. Hill Conference Room
1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN, 55101-1351
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Agenda:

10:00 a.m. — 10:10 a.m. Welcome, introductions, approval of minutes

10:10 a.m. — 10:20 a.m. Public comment

10:20 a.m. — 10:30 a.m. Update from the Office of Broadband Development

10:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. Discussion of recommendations to include in annual report

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Walk-thru of report

12:00 p.m. — 12:30 p.m. LUNCH

12:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Review 2015 Task Force Report

2:50 p.m. — 3:00 p.m. Wrap-up, vote on possible adoption of report, January meeting

MN Broadband Task Force November Meeting Notes: Drafting the 2016 Report

Most of the time at yesterday’s meeting was spent combing through the Task Force draft report in groups. I was disappointed that they didn’t get to a discussion of speed goals or recommendations but they did discuss all other aspects of the report.

Here’s the draft handed out at the meeting. It will be helpful as you read through the notes below

11:00 a.m. — 11:10 a.m. Welcome, introductions, approval of minutes – done
11:10 a.m. — 11:20 a.m. Public comment – done
11:20 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. Update from the Office of Broadband Development

$11 million in grants
$18 million in matching
Awards from $100,000 up to $5 million. Good geographic distribution.
Next step is to convene the group of awardees to walk them through the grant process.

We are often asked about the role of the Task Force in grant awards. We try to make it clear that the Task Force is not involved at all.

We have heard from Internet 2 folks. They did a high level state-level report on education and broadband. MN is not one of the 38 states listed with a forward looking designation. Mostly because the Governor was not able to give a quote in time for the publication.

REVIEW OF TASK FORCE REPORT

11:30 a.m. — 1:40 p.m. Discussion of broadband speed goal recommendations – The Task Force broke up into three groups to discuss the report. Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Meeting Agenda: Nov 23

Sorry this notice is a little late. It’s the agenda for the Nov 23 Broadband Task Force meeting…

Broadband Task Force – November 23, 2015
DEED – James J. Hill Conference Room
1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN, 55101-1351
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. — 11:10 a.m. Welcome, introductions, approval of minutes

11:10 a.m. — 11:20 a.m. Public comment

11:20 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. Update from the Office of Broadband Development

11:30 a.m. — 12:30 a.m. Discussion of broadband speed goal recommendations

12:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. LUNCH

1:00 p.m. — 2:50 p.m. Review 2015 Task Force Report

2:50 p.m. — 3:00 p.m. Wrap up, plans for December 8 meeting