Minnesota is one of four states that will get additional funds to expand broadband access, according to the White House and U.S. Department of Treasury officials who made the announcement on Thursday.
Approximately 8% of homes and companies in Minnesota are still without high-speed internet connection, so the state will get $68.4 million to help expand it out.
Following the Department of Treasury’s approval of their proposals, Kansas, Maine, and Maryland were also expected to receive federal funding. State officials will receive funding under the Capital Projects Fund of the American Rescue Plan to promote the development of border-to-border broadband in Minnesota.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar stated at a virtual press conference that the financing is anticipated to enable the expansion of internet access to an additional 23,517 households and businesses. Nearly 240,000 houses in Minnesota don’t have high-speed internet connectivity that satisfies state requirements.
In order to use the internet during the epidemic, Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, told tales of students, doctors, and employees who had to go to the parking lots of restaurants, schools, or liquor shops. She also said that Minnesotans need to have consistent access to the internet wherever they live.
If Iceland, a nation with volcanoes and lava flowing, can have faster internet, “maybe, just maybe, we can get better internet in Minnesota,” Klobuchar remarked.
Earlier this year, an extra $110 million in financing for the expansion of the state’s broadband infrastructure was authorized by the Minnesota Legislature and enacted by the governor.
As students, employees, and others sought to study, work, and amuse themselves from home, the COVID-19 epidemic revealed inequities in internet access, according to White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling on the virtual call. According to him, Americans should be able to rely on reliable internet service that can support numerous family members accessing simultaneously.
As Sperling put it, “The epidemic truly drove it home in a level we’ve never seen before.” It was essential that you could work and study from home.