Governor’s Broadband Task Force Releases 2017 Report

The report calls for $71.48 million in ongoing biennial funding over the next four years.
(Published Jan 22, 2018)

The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband released its Annual Report on Jan. 3. The document includes recommendations for Gov. Dayton, the Legislature, and other policymakers to consider in the 2018 legislative session.

The report contains two recommendations aimed at expanding access to broadband:

  • Provide $71.48 million in ongoing biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program until the state achieves its broadband goals. This funding amount, which accounts for federal funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF II) and the FCC’s Alternative-Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), would provide service to the 252,000 Minnesota households that currently lack Internet service at the state’s speed goals of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.
  • Provide the Office of Broadband Development with $500,000 in ongoing biennial funding, and maintain the existing partnership with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, until the state achieves its broadband speed goals.

Read the full 2017 Annual Report of the Governor's Task Force on Broadband

Grant program
The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, created by the Legislature in 2014, provides funding to build the state’s broadband infrastructure and promote broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of the state. The grants provide up to a dollar-for-dollar match on funds, not to exceed $5 million for any one project, and are distributed to qualified entities.

In its first four years, the program leveraged $110 million in matching local and/or private investments, making service available to more than 34,000 households and 5,200 businesses across Minnesota.

Demand for the grant program continues to outpace its funding. The Office of Broadband Development received 70 grant applications, with requests totaling more than $50 million, all competing for the $20 million in funding allocated by the Legislature in 2017.

Broadband speed goals
Minnesota’s universal broadband access and speed goals, originally established in 2010 and updated in 2016, specify that by “no later than 2022, all businesses and homes should have access to high-speed broadband services at a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second,” and by “no later than 2026, that all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.”

As reported by Connected Nation in October 2017, 88.11 percent of Minnesota households have wireline broadband access available at a speed of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), while 73.45 percent of rural Minnesota households have a wired broadband connection that meets these speeds. Seventy percent of Minnesota households have wireline speeds of 100 Mbps/20 Mbps. In rural areas of Minnesota, 52.88 percent of households have access to these speeds.

About the task force
The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband is comprised of 15 members representing a variety of backgrounds. It is charged with developing, implementing, and promoting state policy, planning, and initiatives to achieve state broadband needs and goals. The task force continues to monitor advances in broadband applications and delivery technology, and will update its recommendations accordingly.

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