Editorial: More bucks for broadband
It’s supposed to be the Greater Minnesota session, right? At least that’s what House Republicans strongly implied when they gathered in St. Paul earlier this year.
Well, it looks like rural folks are getting short shrift once again — this time in broadband assistance.
Earlier this month, House Republicans opted to invest $0 — that’s right: zero, zilch, nada — for broadband. After a vocal outcry, a revised House funding bill announced Friday added $8 million. That’s a start, but it’s a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $200 million a governor’s task force says is necessary to bring the state’s broadband up to a useful speed.
The Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMP), which advocates economic development policies and resources, is pushing strongly for significant broadband funding. “In meeting with business and community leaders across the state, I hear over and over again about the dire need for better broadband in Greater Minnesota,” GMP Executive Director Dan Dorman said last week. “High-speed Internet service is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity for job and business growth.”
There still may be hope for another broadband boost this session, as up to $300 million still remains unspent in House Republicans’ overall budget proposal. Faster Internet service helps with business, farming, health care, education ... and, not to mention, quality of life. Other states are zooming along the information superhighway, and we can’t afford to be parked in the slow lane.