Sen. Matt Schmit and statewide broadband advocacy stakeholders — including MSBA — have scheduled a press conference for today (Wednesday, April 27) to voice support for the Senate’s broadband proposals.
The press conference is set for 10 a.m. today in Room 2237 of the Minnesota Senate Building (located at 95 University Avenue in St Paul). MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind is one of the scheduled speakers.
Today, MSBA joined a coalition of broadband stakeholders to send a letter (signed by MSBA’s Denise Dittrich) supporting the Senate’s broadband position to Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and members of the Minnesota Legislature.
The letter stated:
Affordable broadband access at world-class speeds is critical to the future of Minnesota. It has become a necessary tool for education, health care, economic development, agriculture, and government. That need will only continue to grow. All Minnesotans, no matter where they live — in a city or in the rural countryside — need and deserve access to online information and services.
Our organizations have recognized that we need to provide a strong and unified voice in support of significant broadband funding. We have joined together to advocate for adequate funding and appropriate policies for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. This program, when adequately funded and designed, provides an essential tool to ensure that robust broadband is available throughout the state.
Our groups believe that Senate Bills 2447 and 2448 provide the proper policies and funding that will enable quality projects with a high rate of return for improving broadband access for the following reasons:
- A fund of $85 million dollars will motivate providers and government partners to do the hard work to develop the plans and partnerships necessary to create a quality application and successful deployment.
- The grant definitions of unserved (25 Mb/3 Mb) and underserved (100 Mb/20 Mb), tied to the proposed 2022 and 2026 Governor’s Broadband Task Force broadband goals, ensure that communities with substandard broadband will not be left behind with investments in last generation technologies.
- Border-to-Border Broadband grants should create long-term broadband infrastructure that will provide both immediate benefits and a platform for future enhancements. Quick, but short-term solutions are not smart investments of limited state funds.
Thank you for your consideration and support of statewide, world-class broadband that is increasingly required to ensure Minnesota’s economic competitiveness and quality of life.
Along with MSBA, the letter was signed by:
- League of Minnesota Cities
- Association of Minnesota Counties
- Minnesota Association of Townships
- Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators
- Minnesota Rural Education Association
- Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus
- Metro Cities
- Greater Minnesota Partnership
- Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
- Schools for Equity in Education
- Economic Development Association of Minnesota
- Minnesota Public Broadband Alliance
- Minnesota Association of Professional County Economic Developers