4/1/2019 3:00:00 PM
Access to robust broadband is a critical factor in the economic and social sustainability of all Minnesota communities. In 2014, the state of Minnesota set a goal of border-to-border broadband access by 2022, signaling that access to quality broadband service should be a right for all Minnesotans.
The Governor is requesting $35 million in FY 2020 and $35 million in FY 2021 for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. This funding commitment will build on several years of public and private investments in broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of Minnesota. The state will work to meet the statutory goal of border-to-border access of 25Mbps/3Mbps broadband service and begin to pave the way for achieving the state’s 2026 goal of reaching everyone with a service capable of delivering 100Mbps/20Mbps.
This program is largely targeted toward Greater Minnesota communities. Preference consideration will be given to unserved communities, communities with low-income indicators, and tribal areas.
Along with state broadband mapping information, the broadband task force and Office of Broadband Development use national studies and data from the federal government to track current and future broadband needs. Sources include the Federal Communications Commission, Pew Research studies, and the US Census – American Community Survey results.
Since 2014, the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program has invested $85.6 million to expand broadband access in communities across Minnesota. Those efforts have helped connect more than 39,000 households, businesses and community institutions to high-speed internet – leveraging $110.6 million in private and local matching funds.
In 2018 the Office of Broadband Development launched a benchmarking tool that will allow Minnesotans to test, map and report various broadband internet speeds across the state. CheckSpeedMinnesota.com is designed to gather information about the high-speed internet consumer experience. By answering a few questions and running a speed test, the input captured will help create a better overall picture of broadband service.