Senator Matt Schmit, Greater Minnesota small business owners and civic leaders held a news conference today to discuss the lack of broadband and how it is affecting Greater Minnesota communities. The group announced legislation to help expand broadband throughout Minnesota.
“Following three governor’s broadband task forces, numerous policy recommendations, and adoption of state speed goals — not to mention continued philanthropic activity, local initiatives, and our recent 16-city listening tour, we’re finally poised to start a meaningful conversation at the Capitol regarding the state’s role in promoting broadband investment in Greater Minnesota,” said Sen. Schmit. “Our proposed $100 million Border-to-Border Broadband Fund promises to extend vital broadband connectivity to undeserved areas of the state by promoting partnerships that leverage significant state, local and private investment.”
Proponents of the legislation believe the expansion of broadband will help businesses, farming, health care, education and allow aging Minnesotans to live independently in Greater Minnesota. Expanding broadband is not a new conversation, but the state has yet to make a serious investment in broadband infrastructure and current state laws are holding back possible local investment.
The legislation establishes a broadband infrastructure fund to provide grants and loans to encourage broadband development in unserved and underserved areas of the state. Sen. Schmit also hopes to discuss ways to encourage public-private partnerships in the future.
For more information on efforts to expand broadband, Sen. Schmit’s office can be contacted via phone at 651-296-6264 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.