Range newspaper joins call for rural broadband

Iron Range newsI often find myself out of step with the editorial page of the Iron Range’s largest newspaper, the Mesabi Daily News, particularly as it relates to economic priorities. So today I’m glad to report that the Mesabi Daily News has made a strong, compelling case for something we agree about entirely: expansion of Minnesota’s rural broadband capabilities.

While the Twin Cities and the Rochester and St. Cloud corridors are wired well, the rest of the Gopher State is not. That needs to change — and quickly.

The governor’s own Broadband Task Force recently ranked Minnesota 23rd nationally in terms of broadband speeds. Is that what the governor wants for the state he governs — to be fair to middlin’ when it comes to the vital modern-day infrastructure need of broadband? We say no — we don’t think that’s the governor’s style.

The Border to Border Broadband Fund would provide grants, which would be matched by private, local or federal funds, for businesses, nonprofits and local governments to expand broadband access. The $100 million will not come close to meeting all the financial broadband needs. But it’s an important beginning that needs to happen now.


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