If you were unable to attend Rural Broadband Day at Farmfest last week here is what you missed. The Minnesota Broadband Task Force met at Farmfest August 4th, 2015. We got to hear a lot of about the importance of broadband in precision agriculture as well as for other rural businesses. But not just business broadband is important for healthcare. Point to point connections have made it possible for rural clinics to obtain services through connections to larger hospitals but to move to the next level that would allow remote monitoring from a patient’s home, rural areas need more broadband. Only 63 percent of Minnesota’s state population is connected to broadband, but government officials, local leaders and businesses want to change that and push for wider access across the state.
“Broadband in Minnesota’s rural communities is not just nice, it’s necessary. As the world’s population continues to grow, Minnesotans are producing more food, fuel, and fiber to help meet the growing need. Precision agriculture and technology-based solutions are essential tools for farmers as they increase efficiency and maximize production. And these tools require high speed, affordable, reliable broadband internet access.” Lt. Govern Smith
The DFL-led Legislature approved a record $20 million in broadband development grants in 2014. Governor Dayton requested an additional $30 million for broadband development grants in early 2015. The House Republicans did not include any funding for broadband at a first glance. With that came strong criticism of their position and lengthy budget negotiations, the Legislature was able to approve $10.6 million in broadband development grants, despite a $2 billion surplus.
“Broadband is not just a technology – it’s the fuel for society. It brings us libraries and universities, jobs and TV. It brings the world to rural families and rural families to the world,” Macrie said. “Broadband delivers innovation onto the doorstep of America’s farmers. Our global economy depends on interconnectivity – we must work together to ensure rural America and America’s farmers and producers aren’t left behind. That’s why I’m proud to support Rural Broadband Day.”
Check out the full news articles on Rural Broadband at Farmfest 2015:
Stay in touch with the latest broadband information from the Minnesota Broadband Task Force.
‘Connecting Rural Minnesota’