Bill to Provide Ongoing Funding for Broadband Gets Hearing

Access to robust broadband is now recognized as a critical factor in the economic and social sustainability of all Minnesota communities. Without reliable Internet, Minnesotans struggle to modernize their businesses to stay competitive.

The Border-to-Border Broadband grants have been popular across the state and the need is significant. A bipartisan proposal heard this week would provide ongoing funding for the program without the need for a biennial appropriation. Starting in fiscal year 2021, $30 million would be appropriated every year from the General Fund for the program on an ongoing basis.

The program was developed in 2014 to make it more cost effective for broadband providers to reach unserved and underserved communities across the state. The money is distributed in a competitive grant process administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development. (SF 3049)