Broadband Task Force Releases Annual Report

The report includes legislative recommendations that address and expand on actions taken during the 2013 legislative session.
(Published Feb 3, 2014)

The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband on Jan. 27 released its annual report, which highlights recommendations for implementing policies to expand broadband access across the state.

The primary goal of the Task Force on Broadband has been to develop an action plan for identifying and correcting disparities in access and adoption of broadband in all Minnesota communities—urban, rural, and suburban.

Below are some recommendations of note for city officials:

  • Establish a $100 million broadband infrastructure matching grant fund to promote the expansion of broadband to targeted areas identified as unserved or underserved.
  • Identify and leverage existing economic development tools to provide adequate funding to help bridge the gap between what is financially feasible and the actual costs of providing broadband that meets the state statutory speed goal.
  • Create an Office of Broadband operating fund to promote broadband adoption and use. (The Office of Broadband was established during the 2013 legislative session.)
  • Reinstate the sales tax exemption on equipment purchased for use in a central office to include the purchase of fiber optics and broadband equipment (repealed during the 2013 legislative session).

This is the fifth task force report and represents a diverse balance of broadband interests, including consumers, businesses, residential users, educational and health care institutions, traditional telephone and cable companies, wireless providers, and local units of government. League IGR staff and the appointed city representative shared a city perspective at task force meetings.

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